Butterfly Clams and Black Rice

We call them Coquinas (pronounced Cockeenas) but they also go by the name of Butterfly (Wing) Clams.

The ones below were picked from our local sandy beaches, because of where they live, they need a day or two of purging.

We enjoyed them with a few glasses of chilled Sherry at a friends house to celebrate his birthday.

The clams were simply cooked in Olive Oil, Garlic and a splash of Fino. There are quite small and delicate and should never be overcooked.

I great way to entertain friends for lunch is to cook up some Rice. The most famous Spanish rice dish is Paella (prounounced Pie-eya). A good Paella should not be stodgy, the rice should retain its identity having been cooked in a well seasoned stock (broth).

Most of us think that Paella is Yellow. Most times that bright colour is obtained with the help of food colouring!

The name “Paella” is named after the vessel that it is cooked in (the pan). It is a dish from Valencia, and one that is reproduced in Tapas Bars around the globe (again, mostly with the aid of food colouring). 😉 .

However, not all rice dishes in Spain are called Paella. We just call it Arroz (Rice). And there are many, many different recipes and varieties.

After eating the lovely clams, it was time for the Arroz.

My friend and fellow Chef, Rosa starts cooking the rice in the large pan, giving it a lovely coat of Olive Oil before adding some chunks of fresh Cuttlefish.

A short time later she adds some good stock, made from the Cuttlefish and other seafoods mixed with a bit of tomato.

The rice absorbs the stock and all the wonderful flavours.

When the pan is almost dry, more stock is added a little at a time. Because we are having Black Rice, she adds some fresh Squid Ink, which changes the appearance magically.

A few large Clams are added, the heat turned off, the rice covered and allowed to peacefully cook, unhurried and leisurely. A good dish cannot be rushed.

The result is an amazing fusion of texture and flavours. It should be served when it is ready, which means that if you order this dish from an authentic kitchen, you know that you will have to wait between 20 to 30 mintues for it.

And yes, it turns your teeth and tongue a lovely shade of black. 😉 .

Smile! 😆

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