Clam and kumquat tostada with peanut salsa macha

Clam and kumquat tostada with peanut salsa macha


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The inspiration for this dish comes from La Guerrerense. I could never recreate the incredible tostadas Sabina makes on that dusty, sun-drenched street corner in Ensenada, so instead I’ve reinterpreted her classic and used the flavour of super-sweet clams, bittersweet kumquats and a smoky, nutty salsa to make a tostada that ticks all the boxes.

Submerge the clams in cold water to clean. Boil a large pan of water and add the clams. Drain as soon as the shells open and set aside to cool
Slice the fennel bulb in half and thinly slice using a mandoline. Set aside in a bowl of iced water with a wedge of lemon inside to prevent discolouration
For the salsa macha, toast the habanero, pasilla and chipotle chillies in a dry frying pan until they release a small amount of smoke (be careful to not burn them), then transfer to a blender. In the same pan, cook the garlic and toast until blackened and charred. Peel, then add to the blender along with the cumin, garlic and star anise, blitzing until you have a coarse powder. Place this mixture into a large heatproof bowl
Heat the oil to 180°C in a large pan. Being very, very careful, pour the oil over the chilli mixture. Stand back as it may spit and splutter. Mix in the peanuts and set aside
Remove the clams from their shells. Mix around 2–3 tablespoons of the salsa macha into the clams alongside the lime juice, ponzu and soy. Check the seasoning – the clams should taste bright from the citrus, smoky and spicy from the chilli and salty from the soy
Place a tablespoon of crushed avocado atop each tostada. Top with slices of fennel, a couple of tablespoons of clams and a few slices of kumquat and chilli. Garnish with coriander and sesame seeds and serve
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