Laver bread with oats, clams & ham

Laver bread with oats, clams & ham

By
From
Gather
Serves
4
Photographer
Andrew Montgomery

John Wright, an experienced forager and good friend, first introduced me to laver – a seaweed that is smooth in texture and unimaginably slender, being only one cell thick. It also has a reluctance to tenderize to the point of frustration! (But, once it’s cooked it’s wonderful.) Purple laver is one of the most common of several similar species, often found clinging to rocks. It has an amazing iodine flavour that works beautifully with the sweet clams and crisp salty ham in this recipe.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 bowl laver seaweed, trimmed and washed thoroughly
or 1 jar pre-cooked laver
4 large slices prosciutto
25g porridge oats
1 knob butter
1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
750g clams in their shells, washed
4 slices white sourdough, granary or rye bread
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 120°C. If you’re using fresh laver, first wash it in several changes of water so that it is completely grit-free. To cook, roughly chop the laver, place it in a large heavy-based pan and cover with fresh water. Place a lid on the pan and bring the water up to a simmer. Cook gently for 5–6 hours, or until the laver is tender and the liquid has reduced. If at any point the pan appears dry, add a little more water, until you have a thick, somewhat sticky seaweed. Set the cooked laver aside.
  2. Place the slices of prosciutto onto a parchment-lined baking tray and scatter the oats around. Place in the oven for 12–15 minutes to crisp up the prosciutto and toast the oats.
  3. Place a medium pan on a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the butter, then the garlic. Cook for 15–20 seconds, until the garlic is soft but not coloured. Tip in the clams along with 2 tablespoons of water, stir, then place a lid on the pan. Cook for 3–4 minutes, shaking the pan regularly to encourage the clams to open. When all the clams are open, use a slotted spoon to lift them out of the pan and set aside, leaving the pan on the heat.
  4. Chop 150–200g of the cooked laver and add it to the clam cooking liquor in the pan. Stir well, then season with salt and pepper to taste and cook gently for 5–10 minutes, until the seaweed starts to thicken but is still moist.
  5. Toast the bread on both sides. Top each piece of toast with an equal amount of warm laver, pick the warm clams from their shells and scatter over, then break over shards of the crispy ham. Sprinkle over a few oats and serve straight away.
Tags:
River Cottage
seasonal
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