CLAMS WITH HISPANIC FLAIR

Clams are definitely part of the rapidly emerging interesting in Latin and Hispanic cuisines. Clams accented with dry fino sherry and savory Serrano ham are popular in tapas bars all over Spain but particularly in Andalucia.  There clams are usually served on Tuesdays and Fridays when most ‘pescaderias’ (Spanish fishmongers) are open for the day after bring their catch home.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb Taylor Manila Clams
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 6 slices Jamón Serrano (cured ham), roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp hot paprika, although the sweet variety will do as well
  • ¾ cups Spanish fino sherry
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse thoroughly under cold water and discard any that are open, broken or don’t close when tapped firmly.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan large enough to hold all the clams over a medium heat and add the garlic, onion and Jamón Ham.
  3. Cook until the onion is translucent, but not colored.
  4. Add the flour and paprika and stir-fry for 20 seconds to cook the flour.
  5. Add the sherry, stirring all the time.
  6. Quickly flambé by setting light to the pan using a lighter or long matches.
  7. If you don’t want to flambé the sherry don’t worry, just cook for 1 minute so that the alcohol evaporates.
  8. Add the cleaned clams to the pan, turn up the heat and shake the pan vigorously, tossing the clams a couple of times.
  9. Season to taste and stir in the parsley, cover with a lid and cook for 2–3 minutes until the clams are fully opened.
  10. Stir again before serving with lots of fresh bread to soak up the sauce.