An easy dish that is delicious - makes a great appetizer or main dish.
First wash the clams gently to rinse any sand or debris off of the shells. Any that do not close should be discarded. Usually a light tap on the top of the shell closes them up. Set them in a dish in the refrigerator.
Cut the bacon into chunks and cook in a heavy, deep skillet until crisp. Remove from the pan to paper towels.
Pour off the excess bacon fat but do not wash the pan.
Add the olive oil to the pan and gently heat.
Next, add the garlic and shallots and gently sauté until they become translucent, but not brown. Stir in the pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Pour in the water, sherry vinegar and lavender sprigs to the pan, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer it all for about 3-5 minutes. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
Place the clams into the hot water and cover, leaving it simmer on low. The water should not be boiling, but still steaming.
Let the clams steam in the lavender broth, covered, for about 5 to 10 minutes. They will be wide open and the meat loosened from the shell. If they do not open, discard them.
Serve the clams with the broth in a large bowl with a chunk of crusty bread. Garnish with the crispy bacon pieces.
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