Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cataplana Al Diablo

For some reasons here in Adelaide clams (cockles here in Australia) are hard to come by. So when I saw some at the market this week I knew what we would have for diner.
Whenever working with clams I always follow Penelope Casas' instructions for prepping them: she says to scrub them, then put them in salted water with some cornmeal for several hours or overnight. The idea is that the clams eat the cornmeal, which helps them plump up as well as expel any remaining sand. I then prepare them using the following recipe that I've adapted over the years

1/2 onion finely chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2  tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 cup white wine
1 dried hot chile, crumbled
Salt, to taste

Rustic bread, to serve

Sauté the onions, garlic and pepper in the oil in a large deep saucepan (I use a Cataplana--a Portuguese cooking vessel.) When the onion is wilted, add the tomatoes, paprika, parsley, wine, salt and chile. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add clams, return cover and cook over a high flame until the clams open--discard any that do not open. Serve immediately in same dish with slices of thick rustic bread to soak up the juices.

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