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Fry the onion and celery in a little olive oil and butter until soft. Add in the bay leaves and a couple of sprigs of thyme
While the onion is softening. Heat a pint of water in a large saucepan. When it is simmering throw in the clams, put the lid on and steam for about 3 minutes until all the shells are open
Drain off the clams – keep the clam water to one side. Discard any clams that have not opened, pull out the clams from their shells and keep to one side.
Add the fresh sweetcorn to the onions
Add the drained clam water and the stock to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes to start softening the corn.
Add the chopped potatoes to the soup pan and cook until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart.
Add the clams into the soup, the cream and the parsley.
Leave to cook for a few more minutes – season to taste.
While the soup is finishing off – blitz the bread in a food processor so that you have rough breadcrumbs. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, fry the bread with the thyme and season with salt and pepper
Spoon the soup into bowls and sprinkle over the herby crumbs to serve. You can also add a couple of wafer thin slices of crisped pancetta to serve.
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