Sea bass and clams on lamon beans

Sea bass and clams on lamon beans

Branzino con vongole e fagioli di lamon

Helen Cathcart

We ate this at the perfect little restaurant Carampane in the area near Rialto. Francesco and his staff make you feel very welcome despite the sign on the door saying ‘No tourist menu, no pizza and no pasta’. He takes his food very seriously and rightly so. My fish was so fresh and perfectly cooked it was weeping lagoon water as I ate it. We loved the sea bass on velvety smooth beans. Francesco likes to use the smooth, creamy gialet beans, which are a Slow Food Organisation approved product, grown in Lamon, Belluna, just north of Venice. Bring some back in your suitcase or use haricot or cannellini instead. If time permits use dry beans, soaked overnight. If time is very short a can of beans will do.


Quantity Ingredient
200g dried gialet or cannellini beans, soaked
1 shallot
1 bay leaf
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 sprigs thyme
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed, whole
300g fresh clams, washed and checked for sand
2 tablespoons white wine
4 sea bass fillets
100g fine dry breadcrumbs


  1. Put the soaked beans into a heavy-based saucepan with a lid. Add the shallot and bay leaf and cover with water 5 cm deep on top of the beans. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour until they are tender. Drain and transfer one third of the beans to a blender. Purée them and then mix back into the pan. Season to taste and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cover and keep the mixture warm.
  2. Put the tomatoes on to a grill pan, season and sprinkle over the thyme leaves. Grill for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and soft. Set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan with a lid, add the garlic and fry for 1 minute, add the clams and wine. Put the lid on and shake the pan frequently. Cook for just a few minutes until the clams have all opened. Discard any that haven’t. Pick out most of the clams from the shells and put them back into the cooking liquor, keeping aside a few whole for garnish.
  4. Season the fish and dip them into the breadcrumbs, tap off the excess. Heat the remaining oil in a large nonstick frying pan and fry the fish, skin down first, for around 3–4 minutes, then turn to the other side and fry for a further 2–3 minutes or until golden brown on both sides.
  5. To serve pour the warm beans into warm shallow bowls, top with the fish and scatter over a few clams, a little cooking liquor, cherry tomatoes and parsley.
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