Rinse the clams well to remove grit and sand. Factor in the
clams, too, when seasoning the dish - they're naturally briny.
150 gmmayonnaise1/8 tspsaffron threads, soaked in 1 tbsp warm water for about 10 minutesFinely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon100 mlolive oil4garlic cloves, thinly sliced3golden shallots, thinly sliced2baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, fronds reserved400 gmcherry tomatoes, halved1 kgpre-soaked clams, rinsed well100 mldry white wine1 tspdried chilli flakes20 gmbutter, dicedBaguette, to serve (optional)
Combine mayonnaise, saffron and lemon rind in a bowl, and refrigerate until required.
Heat 40ml olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add garlic, shallot and half the fennel and sauté until tender (3-4 minutes). Increase heat to medium-high, add tomatoes and cook until skins soften (1-2 minutes). Increase heat to high, add clams, wine and chilli flakes, cover and steam, shaking pan occasionally, until clams open (3-4 minutes). Stir in butter, cover and keep warm. Meanwhile, combine remaining fennel, lemon juice and remaining oil in a bowl and season to taste. Top clams with fennel salad and fronds and serve with saffron mayonnaise and baguette.