Leek and clam Cannelloni, Clams and leek/potato stoemp in their shells

Leek is a vegetable that had long been a bit overlooked… Belonging to the same family as onion, garlic, chive… it was not really considered as a fully entitled or a primary vegetable…  Just the complement of potatoes and carrots in a soup, a beef stew… The only exceptions that come to my mind right now is, first, what is called the poireau vinaigrette, where the leek is very boringly boiled in hot water and served with a vinaigrette, the mission of which is to wake up this immense blandness, and second, more recent and more exciting, the fondue de poireaux, where the chopped leeks are simmered in a very generous quantity of butter so that they melt in mouth… Generations of leeks should pay a tribute to unknown cook who invented the fondue de poireaux as he brought credibility and recognition to the leek. Fondue de poireaux has now become a common, and delicious, side for some prestigious seafood, such as scallops, cod…

The recipe I partly improvised today was based on the fondue de poireau, although I borrowed some aspects from the poireau vinaigrette (very much revisited by the French chef Philippe Etchebest) and from the Belgian leek/potato stoemp. I served it with a seafood, but not with scallops for a change, but with cherrystone clams.

Here it is: 
§  Cannelloni of leek and clams, topped by chips of bottarga
§  Clams, with leek and potato stoemp, in their shell
§  Grilled leek segment

Levels of difficulty

30 minutes

60 minutes

Ingredients 2 servings

§  4 to 8 leeks depending on size (here 2 medium and 4 small)
§  12 cherrystone clams
§  (a lot of) butter
§  1 scallion
§  1 shallot
§  1 glass of dry white wine
§  Bottarga (optional, or salmon roe…)
§  S&P
§  S&P

1.     Start by abundantly rinsing the clams, then soak them for 1 hour in a reconstituted sea water (30 g of coarse sea salt per liter) with a spoon of flour.

2.     Meanwhile, cut/prepare those tender and delicious leeks and divide them in 3, no, 4, in fact 5 groups:
a)    wide white sheets from the base of the two biggest ones (in fact, medium/small size in this case)
b)    wide green stripes from the leaves of the same "big" ones
c)     white/light green core parts from the "big" ones, and white/light/green parts of 4 4 small leeks , thinly chopped
d)    2 segments to be grilled
e)    the trims

3.     After rinsing them a last time, cook the clams in a pot with a generous quantity of butter, roughly chopped shallot, leek trims and dry white wine. Remove/reserve them as they opened, and recuperate the cooking juice, strain it, and divide it in two batches (roughly ¾ or enough to cover your baby potatoes, and ¼ or the rest).

4.     Rapidly cook (for a couple of minutes) the white and green leek sheets in the 3/4 batch, then cook the baby potatoes in the same.

5.     Simmer the chopped leek, with 1 chopped scallion, in a generous quantity of butter (the fondue), and add progressively the 1/4 clam juice a bit like for a risotto, and let it gently reduce. Separate the fondue in two batches relatively equivalent.

6.     On a transparent cling film, place and overlap 3 or 4 white leek sheets. Place alternatively 2 or 3 green leek stripes. Place 50% of the first batch of fondue on those sheets and dispose 3 roughly chopped clams on top of the fondue. Roll the whole on itself with the film, make knots at each end and reiterate the operation to obtain two cannelloni. Place them in the potato cooking juice while you remove the potatoes (as far as they are cooked).

7.     Mix the second batch of fondue with the potatoes, previously peeled and roughly chopped/smashed, and let rest warm. This your stoemp. Fill it in 6 empty clam shell and top each of them with a clam that you will have warm up in the potato cooking juice

8.     Grill the leek segment in a pan with no fat or on the BBQ (optional)

9.     Remove delicately the cannelloni from their film, place them on the plate with the stoemp shells and the grilled leek segment, top the cannelloni with a few bottarga chip, and, optional, serve the whole with the remaining clam juice (a killer)



  1. Patrick, I'm exhausted reading this! Your attention to detail, and your patience to get it right, are astonishing. This goes into the category of dishes I would love to eat... so long as someone else is cooking it! Beautiful culinary work, as always.


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