- Place the vegetables, herbs and fennel in a pan of 1.6 litres of water and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Leave to rest for 30 minutes then strain through a sieve.
- Gently fry the leek and celery for 5 minutes in the butter.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn’t burn.
- Add the pearl barley (or rice if using) and turn to coat the grains in the oil.
- Cover the pearl barley (or rice if using) in the fish stock and bring to a simmer – Keep stirring until the stock is absorbed.
- Cover again and repeat.
- After about 20 minutes, the pearl barley or rice should be cooked, bouncy to the bite but enjoyable to eat.
- Remove from the heat, season to taste and place to one side while you cook the clams.
To cook the clams
- Heat 100ml of white wine to boiling point in a lidded saucepan.
- Add the clams and place a lid on top, giving them a shake.
- After just 1-2 minutes, when they open, remove from the heat and add a squeeze of lemon and the chopped parsley.
- Turn the clams through the risotto and serve immediately.
Storage: The sturdy pearl barley reheats well. Keep in the fridge for three to four days in a sealed container. Reheat with a little extra water to rehydrate.