Fresh Cockles with
White Wine Sauce
Cockles are very popular here in South Wales but it is more difficult to get fresh cockles raw in their shells so whenever I get some I always want to get the most out of their delicious subtle flavour.
500g fresh cockles
80g bacon lardons
1 leek, sliced thinly
100ml white wine
30ml double cream
2 tbsps laverbread
Salt & white pepper
Crusty bread, to serve
The day before, purge the cockles. To purge the cockle cover them with fresh water and 3-4tbsps of table salt, allow them to sit in the fridge overnight, uncovered. The day of cooking, drain the cockles, discard any that are open, which don’t close with a light tap. Recover the cockle with sparkling water and another 3-4 tbsps of salt and leave for 1-2 hours, uncovered in the fridge.
When you’re ready to start cooking, drain and rinse the cockle, making sure the shells are clean and free from sand, also check again for any open cockles.
Add the butter and bacon to a large deep pan, whilst cold and place over a medium-high heat. Let the bacon render and colour until it looks crisp and golden brown.
Add the leeks and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the white wine and bring to the boil, boil for 2-3 mins to cook off some of the alcohol.
Add the cockles to the pan and cook for 2-3 mins, until all of the shells have opened if any don’t open discard them.
Add the laverbread and stir through, then add the cream and season to taste.
Transfer to a big bowl, sprinkle with lots of fresh parsley, a good grind of black pepper and you could add a little lemon zest and serve piping hot with a few slices of crusty bread to mop up the juices.