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Cockle Recipes Easy
Cockles are not quite so popular now as they once were, possibly due to their fiddliness. Raw or boiled, they are tasty little bundles of protein, minerals and Vitamin B12. The best type is reputedly the Norfolk Stiffkey Blue, which really is blue due to its anaerobic mud habitat.
§ For canapés, chop and fry bacon in butter, then cook gently with laverbread and cockles for a few minutes. If the mixture is runny, stir in a few porridge oats. Serve on little circles of toast or pastry. Alternatively – since frying laverbread is quite fiddly – just spread the cold laverbread on crostini (toasted ciabatta or baguette), decorate with fried bacon and cockles, and sprinkle with Anglesey or pink Himalayan salt (get 25% off Saltan by quoting code ‘Taster25’). Delicious!
This recipe and several others by The Taster also appear on the website of the Marine Conservation Society. The Taster is very pleased to collaborate with the MCS in this way; see our back issue of Autumn 2015 to learn more about the MCS and its work, along with that of organisations such as the Marine Stewardship Council, Seafish and Fish2Fork.
§ In the past, cockles have been paired with lamb. Cook like moules marinière (simmer with fried shallots in white wine, thyme & bay, and finish with optional cream). Then pour over sliced pink lamb; serve with or without the shells.
§ Click HERE for our recipe for Sardine Salad (pictured) with vermouth, fennel, croutons & cockles. Add as many cockles as you like.
§ Throw a few cockles into fish pies, seafood risotto, prawn cocktail or scrambled eggs (it does work).
§ Simmer cockles & chopped tomatoes for a nice pasta sauce. You can of course add any or all of the following, to your own taste: seasoning, garlic, fennel and other herbs, reduced fish stock, and perhaps a blob of anchovy paste for depth of flavour.
§ The Silver Spoon (the Italian cookery bible) recommends a soup of cockles, mussels, scallops and clams with white wine, parsley, celery, onions and lemon.
§ Cockles, green peas, butter or cream and white wine make a simple sauce for white fish. We find cheap pinot grigio to be a very good wine for this purpose. NB don’t buy cooking wine – rubbish wine does tend to make for a rubbish sauce – it is better, when saving the pennies, to leave the wine out completely. It is entirely possible to enjoy fish with nothing more than melted butter and salt.
§ Otherwise, cockles are of course quite lovely with white bread and butter. (It’s one of those occasions – such as when eating soldiers & boiled egg – when the bread really needs to be white.)
§ Traditional British pub fashion — eat your cockles cold and shelled, in a pint glass, accompanied by a pint of beer.
Here is one of our fave cockle cookery vids. You can’t get more authentic:
For more informative, or amusing, vids, try our YouTube channel.
If cockles are what you crave, then, on holiday at least, beware false cockles. Many bivalves termed ‘cockles’ abroad are no such thing, but types of clam or other shellfish.
The phrase ‘cockles of one’s heart’ probably derives from the Latin cochlea, meaning another shelled creature – the snail. While the spiralling snail and purse-like cockle shells are dissimilar in shape, the human heart and the animal cockle itself do bear a passing triangular resemblance. Alternatively, cockles of the heart might simply be a corrupted translation of cochleae cordis –the chambers of the human heart.
We hope the above ideas might provide some inspiration. We do update entries, so check back any time. Click HERE for more ingredients.