Another SouperchefannatravelsxSpain tapas inspiration, Berberechos a la saffron. Berberechos, or cockles, are a local delicacy in the region of Galicia usually served up with a touch of lemon and parsley. Typically, they are eaten as appetizers or as a pintxo or tapa. The first time, we saw these jewels were in Zaragoza in the Central Mercado. They looked like huge clams to us. We could not resist buying them as they looked huge and we presume they would be rather plump and fleshy. One thing to note was when we did a google translate, we realise they were cockles. I kinda got worried as I only knew of blood cockles, the ones that are eaten frequently in Singapore. Phew, they turned out to be like huge clams, to our relief. The saffron added here may only be a pinch, but it gave the broth a beautiful golden yellow hue. This recipe can be adapted to other types of clams or shellfish. You’ll need:
- 1 kg berberechos or clams, soaked *
- a pinch of saffron soaked in hot water
- 30ml extra virgin olive oil
- 150ml of white wine
- 5 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
- 200g white onions roughly chopped
- 100g cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp smoky sweet paprika or sweet paprika**
- Lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish with parsley leaves
- Leave the clams to soak in salted water for at least 3 hours to release any sand or grit. * (I did it for 1 hour, and it was still very gritty)
- Heat the olive oil in a pot or pan and saute garlic and onions till fragrant.
- Add the paprika and the saffron and stir well.
- Add the white wine and deglaze any brown bits.
- Add the cockles and the cherry tomatoes and let it steam in its juices for 3 minutes till they open. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately with the parsley leaves, zest of 1 lemon and its juice.
Tip: Variation: hot paprika and chillies can be used instead to make this a spicy dish. Chickpeas can be added to make this dish more hearty. ** I love using the smoky style paprika. Do try to use them if possible. It does give the dish another dimension.