Crisp polenta with clams soffritto
( SERVES 4 )
The soffritto takes some time to cook, but it is worth the effort. Once made, it can be used on many dishes, including meats.
- Cut the onions into fine slices, then place in a saucepan with the oil and salt. Bring the oil to a simmer over a medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Stew the onion slowly until it starts to caramelise - about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters, discarding the seeds. Chop the flesh finely so it is almost a purée. Add to the onion, then cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic. The oil may separate from the solids. Refrigerated soffritto will keep for a month. Drain any extra oil before using, but do not discard it - it can be used for another soffritto.
- Clams: Preheat the oven to 200C. Melt the butter in a saucepan deep enough to hold the clams. Wash the clams, then add to the saucepan with the wine. Cover the saucepan with a lid and allow the clams to steam open.
- Add the soffritto mix and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the parsley. While the clams cook, brush the polenta (cut into wedges) with oil and bake in the oven until crisp. Transfer the polenta to absorbent paper, then place pieces on each of 4 serving plates. Divide the clams and soffritto between the plates