5 February, 2020
Eat Portuguese: Cockles a Bulhao de Pato
Cockles are one of the most eaten bivalves in Portugal as they are readily found in the Algarve district of the south and the shores of Caparica. They are found in saltwater, lend themselves to different cooking techniques and easily consumed raw. I myself have walked the beach in the south with family, raked the sand with my toes to find a few of these beauties then quickly popped the cockle open for a quick slurp of a bite. They taste like a sweet sea to me and are found in plenty of Portuguese dishes.
This dish is an appetizer that is quintessential for any Portuguese celebration and easily ranked in the top three of ordered appetizers in Portuguese-American restaurants. It using a handful of ingredients and can be easily doubled without no impact on flavor.
The best part? It’s easy to make and fast! You can get a whole order done in less than 20 minutes. Visit your local fish monger to help you get your hands on some cockles. It’s worth the wait to get them, but if you’re in a bind this recipe also work with clams.
Do yourself one favor though, make sure you serve this with a good amount of fresh bread so that you can sop up all of the sauce which can stand alone even on its own!
Here we go:
- Pot with lid
- Wooden spoon
- Large mixing bowl
Here are links to by the equipment I use in my home:
- Cockles, cleaned of sand
- Garlic Cloves, 4 heads, sliced
- Olive Oil, 3 Tablespoons
- White Wine, 1/2 Cup
- Cilanto (Fresh Coriander) leaves, 1 bunch, roughly chopped
- Salt, 1/2 teaspoon (more to taste)
- Fresh Black Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon (more to taste)
TWO HOURS BEFORE: Place the clams in the bowl, cover with water and add some salt to allow them to release any sand they may be carrying.
Heat the pot over medium high heat. When heated, add the olive oil and garlic, reduce heat to medium and cook about 5 minutes to let the garlic infuse into the oil. Add the cilantro. Add the white wine, salt and pepper. When the liquid comes to a boil, add the cockles and close shut. Don’t touch it for 5 minutes. You want the steam to open the cockles and allow them to release their juices. Serve hot with all of the sauce poured on top and a squeeze of lemon to finish. (Note: discard any cockle that didn’t open before serving)