Cockles are small saltwater clams with vibrant flavor. Beautiful to look at (they are heart-shaped when observed in profile) their flavor is both sweet and briny. These qualities make them an excellent match with meats, especially pork. Fry up lardons of smoked bacon, add finely chopped onion, and sauté until tender, then add fresh cockles and a splash of wine. Cover and steam until the cockles open, then serve over a mound of pasta or delicately-flavored risotto. Or add them to a stew like this smoky and piquant braise influenced by the culinary traditions of Portugal.
First published February 2014