2 to 4 oz. applewood smoked bacon
1 medium russet potato, peeled
2 stalks celery
2 leeks, thoroughly rinsed, white part only
1 fennel bulb
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 shallots, peeled
1 bay leaf
2 to 3 lb. fresh littleneck clams, rinsed (mussels may be substituted)
2 cups dry vermouth or white wine
1 cup whipping cream
2 bunches chives, minced
6 (3-oz.) salmon fillets, skin off
Chervil, picked to garnish (dried parsley flakes plus dried sage may be substituted)
Cut bacon, potato, carrots, celery, leeks and fennel into an 1/8-inch dice. Blanch bacon for 2 minutes in boiling water then transfer to a saucepan to let it sweat in its own fat; strain and set aside. Blanch potatoes for 2 minutes, or until just underdone; set aside. Sweat carrots, celery, leeks and fennel over medium heat with olive oil until tender. Season with salt and pepper set aside to cool.
Roughly chop shallots and sweat in a saucepan with olive oil or butter and bay leaf. Add clams and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add vermouth and bring to a boil. Cover saucepan to steam; shake constantly for even cooking. When all clams are open, remove from heat and strain liquid from clams through chinois. Discard shallots and bay leaf but reserve clam juice; also reserve 3 clams in the shell per serving for garnish. Pick remaining clams and discard empty shells.
In a saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Add reserved clam juice and bring to a boil. Add reserved potatoes; let cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Gently stir in vegetables and bacon. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes more. Add picked clams and chives just before removing from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place salmon portions on a half sheet pan and rub with olive oil. Slow roast uncovered until medium rare, 6 to 8 minutes depending on thickness. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, reheat reserved clams in the shell in the vegetable-clam sauce for 1 minute. Place a spoonful of the sauce in the center of a bowl or plate. Place salmon on top of the vegetables. Spoon sauce and vegetables around salmon. Place clams in the shell around salmon. Garnish with chervil.