Saturday, 21 February 2015

Almejas en vino blanco - clams in white wine, parsley and garlic sauce

This recipe reminds me of summer (and my beloved Spain!) and is, as many of the tapas recipes featured on the blog are, quick and easy. It only takes 6 ingredients and less than 15 minutes. 

If you want a thicker sauce, add flour into the mix after sauteing the garlic and cook (over low heat) for 10 or so minutes. Traditionally the recipe uses olive oil but hey, I like my butter and the richness it lends the dish (and anyway - butter is what my favourite tapas bar in Benalmadena uses, too!) If you want, you can add a pinch of saffron into the sauce too after adding garlic.

Different almejas-dishes are found on the menu in Spanish tapas bars all year round, but they are particularly popular at Christmas. Especially on the Northern coast, which also produces clams commonly considered the best in Spain. And I can tell you, their size is quite a lot bigger than the ones I found for this dish...

For me these are a summer dish: to be enjoyed in Andalusian sun, at a paper table cloth-covered wonky table balancing on the pavement (have you noticed how that one leg always seems to be shorter than the others?) as chilled Albariño refreshes your body and the chatter and laughter from the surrounding tables lulls your mind into the blissful serenity of the siesta to follow...

(In our case sunshine was replaced by the monstrous-sized daylight lamp I had to get for shooting in the winter and the chatter came in the form of El Mercado's people who came over for lunch. There was plenty of Albariño though, even more laughter and I'm not sure we ever made it to siesta...!)

As tapas this serves 4-6 (depending on the size of the clams)

1 kg clams, cleaned
75 g butter
1 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic
(1 tbsp all purpose flour)
2 dl dry white wine
handful of parsley, finely chopped

salt, pepper

Melt butter on a pan. Add bay leaf to infuse it for a couple of minutes. Then add finely chopped garlic and sauté until soft. Keep the heat fairly low so it doesn't burn. Then add white wine and bring to boil. After 5 minutes, add clams and half of the  parsley. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until clams have opened. Check the taste and season as needed. 

Scatter the remaining parsley on top and serve. With chilled white wine, lemon slices and wonderful crusty bread.




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