The thing about clams is that we Brits find them a bit of a challenge, though they taste amazing, we are so used to filletted and filltered, blended and banal that we have lost the love for a tiny bit of grit and a punchy freah sea salty flavour along the way. This Italian dish is a masterpiece of simplicity.
You can make this, pick all the meat from the shells and then strain the clam and wine liquid though a sieve and then toss everyting together without the shells and the tiny amount of sand that is inevitable whenever you deal with clams or cockles, but to do so is to miss the point, to be a bit too stiff upper lip about it all. My advice is to undo a collar button, glug some splosh in the wine bucket, throw this dish together and consume it with the passsion, fervor and disregard that our Latin cousins would – apreciate it for what it is, delicous.
Serves 2 as a light lunch
- 400g cockles – very well washed in lots of fresh cold water
- A dash of dry white wine.
- 150g spaghetti
- 2 cloves of garlic sliced
- 100 ml good olive oil
- ½ fresh red chilli
- A good, large pinch of roughly chopped parsley.
- Set the spaghetti to cook in a large pan of salted boiling water. Keep an eye on it and move it regularly to avoid it sticking together.
- In a sauté pan, warm some olive oil to a moderate heat and add the garlic, chilli and cockles. Cook for 1 minute and then add a good glug of dry white wine.
- Cover the pan and simmer for 2 minutes or until the cockles open. Remove from the heat. Once the pasta is cooked add a tablespoon of the pasta water to the cockle pan and drain the pasta well.
- Add the pasta to the cockle pan along with a little more oil and the parsley and toss, over the heat for just another minute. Serve in a bowl whilst piping hot.