Monday, March 22, 2010

Cockles and Whole Wheat Linguine

You know you've seen them before. The cockles sit sweetly between the mussels and Cherrystone and you've thought about getting them before, but what do they taste like? How to I prepare them? Will they be gritty? Or maybe you don't stress about minor decisions such as this (like me!) and you've been wise enough to grab a pound for yourself. Lucky dog.

I am such a sucker for naturally colorful foods, which is good, because those are the variety that tend to be the best for you. Purple! Green! Spring! This picture doesn't do these shells justice, as they actually became more vibrant the longer they cooked. (Isn't it funny that most junk foods like anything fried, cheesy, salty, etc. are actually among the least appetizing looking? I digress.) Wikipedia tells me that the most common variety of these sweet little clams is widely distributed along the Northeastern European coastline. I seem to recall the Whole Foods chalk board informing me that these we ate were from the WF dock in Mass. Regardless, these beauties were delicious. Sweet, tender, not at all gritty: a clear addition to our little bag of culinary tricks.

We cooked these as we would clams (olive oil, shallots, white wine, parsley, s&p) and had a super simple meal with more homemade pasta. Which reminds me... I've been itching to get a pasta crank for some time now. Let me know if you see any affordable ones that will fit into our wee little space! xN


  1. This looks delish!! Where´d you get the recipe? Hope you guys are great...bisous

  2. Hi love! We didn't use one but this is essentially what we do with our shellfish and it never disappoints (you don't need the cheese cloth step unless you're eating steamers or littlenecks:

    3 tablespoons butter
    1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
    6 parsley stems
    3 cloves garlic, lightly chopped
    1 bottle dry white wine
    ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    Melted unsalted butter*
    Thick slices of French Bread

    * The use of unsalted butter is imperative for this recipe, otherwise your clams will be too salty!

    NOTE: FDA’s recommendations are to soak steamer clams for several hours in seawater (or 1/3 cup coarse kosher salt and 1 gallon water) to which you have added 1 cup cornmeal. Use kosher or sea salt as the iodine in regular salt will kill the clams before they hit the boiling water.

    One hour before serving, scrub clams with vegetable brush in cold water; rinse with water until free of sand (adding a little coarse salt to the water will help to remove the sand from the clams).

    In a steamer pot or a large kettle, melt butter; saute onion and garlic until soft. Add white wine and pepper flakes and bring to a slow boil. Add clams and cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and steam over low heat just until clams open, about 5 to 10 minutes. Do not over cook, as clams will become tough and rubbery (discard any clams that do not open).

    Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the clams to large individual soup bowls with individual cups of melted butter.

    Pour broth through a cheesecloth-lined strainer to remove any sand. The broth can either be used as a dunking liquid for the French bread or placed in mugs to drink.

    Eat and enjoy