Seafood is a great option for creating recipes like a professional chef. If you’re wondering what cockles are and how you can use them to create sensational meals, you should know that they are a particular type of shellfish loaded with flavour.
Suitable for use in special meals as well as in everyday cooking, they are a great addition to any table where diners delight in good eating. In this guide, you will learn exactly what they are and how to prepare them, leaving nothing to chance
What are cockles?
Cockles are a type of shellfish with a deep, rounded, oval shell. The shell can be white and brown or just white, although they usually have brown spots and greyish tones. Additionally, both halves of their shell have a heart-like shape and inside, there is a ball of flesh and roe that is barely visible.
The differences between cockles and clams
Cockles and clams have differences, although at first glance, it may seem otherwise. Clams, on one hand, are bivalve molluscs that can be found in both saltwater and freshwater environments. However, cockles, despite also being bivalve molluscs, only live in saltwater.
On the other hand, clams come in various sizes and shapes, but cockles have a round shape and always feature a heart-like appearance. Furthermore, clams can be eaten raw, but cockles can cause hepatitis if consumed without being cooked first.
Regarding their nutrients, in the case of clams they stand out for their high content of iodine and iron. On the other hand, while also containing high amounts of iron and iodine, cockles stand out for their provitamin A content.
Types of cockles
At this point, it’s important to know that there are different types of cockles. Familiarizing yourself with all of them will help you make the best decision based on your tastes and needs.
This type of cockle is also known as “Tuberculate Cockle” and is larger in size compared to others, measuring an average of 6 cm. It inhabits areas with strong currents and coarse sands. It has a cream color with brown markings and is found along the Atlantic coast of Europe, although it is also seen in the Mediterranean.
This type of cockle stands out for its reddish or brownish color, as well as for its tough flesh. It is easy to find along the coasts of the Eastern Atlantic but it is also found in the Mediterranean Sea.
The yellow cockle is also known as the “Yellow Prickly Cockle” It is mainly found in the Antilles and along the coasts of Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil.
When speaking of the Lagoon cockle we refer to a mollusc that is smaller in size than the others. It has 19 or 21 ridges and originates from the Atlantic ocean, although it is also found in the Mediterranean Sea.
How to steam cockles
Now that you know more about cockles, another thing you should know is that there are countless ways to prepare them. However, if you’re looking for a fail-proof recipe, this steamed cockles one will be your best choice. Your guests will be delighted.
Washing the cockles
Making steamed cockles is a straightforward process. The first thing you need to do is drain and wash the shellfish, then spread them out on a clean kitchen cloth. This will dry them as much as possible.
The next step for a great result
The next thing you should do is heat about two grammes of coarse salt over a high heat. Add a few drops of oil, preferably extra virgin olive oil, and when the pot reaches its maximum temperature, you can add a good Galician white wine of your choice.
Cooking the cockles
Next, add a fresh bay leaf and put the lid on the pot. Increase the heat to the maximum and when you see it start to boil you can take the lid off and add the cockles. Let them cook for a maximum of about two minutes. If any of them open before that, take them out as soon as they do. This way, you’ll ensure they don’t overcook, which could ruin the result.
A trick not to fail
Despite this being a simple recipe, the trick is to cook the cockles in different batches. This way, you’ll avoid having them stacked on top of each other, which can make it challenging for them to open properly.
The final step of the recipe
Now, you just need to remove the cockles with a slotted spoon onto a large plate and drizzle them with their own liquid. When serving, you can add a squeeze of lemon to taste.
Now that you know what cockles are and how to prepare them, all you have to do is get the ones of your choice and start enjoying them at home like a pro.
Do you want to taste the best cockles in Barcelona?
Visit one of our seafood restaurants in Barcelona, and you can enjoy a delicious plate of cockles cooked to perfection by one of our chefs.
You know the drill… you choose the quantity, we weigh it, cook it to your liking, and serve it along with your favorite drink.
What are you waiting for? Come and visit us!