Almejas a la Marinera
Updated: Jan 16, 2021
"Galicia, nunca fértil en poetas/mas, si de casas nobles/ilustres capitanes y letrados"
Lope de Vega (c. 1615)
Please indulge me for a moment. Suppose you were to find a street in Galicia that had 20 houses on it. Next, suppose you walked down that street and knocked on each door to ask the resident matriarch what her recipe for Almejas a la Marinera was. I would wager you reach the end of that street with 20 different recipes. It's one of those dishes.
Just as the title suggests, this is the Spanish, clam version of Moules Marinière and I've always enjoyed it.
I have been making this dish for so long it's difficult to really attribute the recipe to one particular source. However, it is true to say that the first version I ever made was written in "Rick Stein's Seafood Odyssey". Intriguingly, there is a book, originally published as "1080 Recetas" in Spanish, and well-known it is in Spain, but this dish is nowhere to be found within. It has been translated into English and genuinely is an authoritative reference to Spanish cuisine.
Serve this dish with bread.
Almejas a la Marinera
Ingredients (serves 2)
700g clams (ideally Palourde), cleaned
Extra virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, torn
½ tsp paprika, sweet, smoked or hot, according to taste
½ tsp tomato purée
Pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
2 tbsp (30 ml) white wine
1 tsp Beurre Manié (see note)
½ tbsp finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large frying pan, for which you have a lid, heat a little of the olive oil and fry the chopped onion and the bay leaf until the onion has softened but not coloured much.
Add the paprika, tomato purée and chilli flakes (if using), stir for a moment or two then add the white wine and bring to the boil.
Put the clams in the pan and cover. Cook over a high heat until the clams have just opened. Stir in the Beurre Manié and cook until the sauce has thickened a bit.
Add the chopped parsley, season to taste and serve.
Beurre Manié. This is a mixture of equal quantities of flour and softened butter which is added toward the end of cooking to thicken a sauce. It's quite a 'gentle' way of thickening a sauce by comparison to other methods. If a recipe calls for 1 tsp of Beurre Manié, just mix 1 tsp each of butter and flour and that will do the job.
"Rick Stein's Seafood Odyssey", Rick Stein (1999), pp. 122: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rick-Steins-Seafood-Odyssey-Stein/dp/0563551860
"1080 Recipes", Simone and Inés Ortega (2007): https://www.amazon.co.uk/1080-Recipes-Inés-Ortega/dp/0714847836