Yes, this time it is “marinera” and not “marinara”, meaning “Sailors’ style”… This is probably the most typical way to cook clams in Spain and the sauce is different to the marinara, among other reasons, because it doesn’t include tomato. Normally we serve it as hors d’oeuvre or tapa, prior to the first or main course or accompanied by other tapas.
It is a very simple recipe. Just bear in mind that seafood must be alive when you buy it. You can always check that in the store before you purchase your clams: just touch an open clam (bad sign if none of them is). It should close immediately. That means it is alive and “kicking”. The slower it reacts, the least time it has among us…
I must warn you that initially this is a healthy, non-fattening recipe, but very probably you will end up eating a whole loaf of bread dipping it in the sauce.
Ingredients (serves 2-4)
1 kg (2 pounds) clams
1 medium onion (chopped)
1-2 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 tbsp flour
100 ml white wine
salt, olive oil, saffron
STEP 1.- Place the clams in a container with cold water and cold salt, to remove any sand they might have. Let rest for 1 hour.
STEP 2.- Poach the onion and garlic with two tbsps. of olive oil over medium-low heat.
STEP 3.- Meanwhile, fill a large pot with just enough water to cover the bottom. Bring it to a boil. Place the clams in the pot, cover and listen to the “pops” (yes, they are like popcorn!). Shake the pot a couple times without removing the lid. In about one minute almost all the clams should be open. Check carefully if they are, without removing the lid completely. If not, let cook for a few more seconds. When most of them are open, remove from the pot, place in a cold tray and cover with a damp, clean cloth. Filter and reserve the liquid.
STEP 4.- When the garlic and onion are soft and starting to brown slightly, add a few saffron threads and cook for a few more minutes. Add the flour and stir for a couple of minutes.
STEP 5.- Add the white wine and the liquid reserved from cooking the clams. After cooking for 5 minutes, puree the sauce with the hand blender. You can avoid this last part, but the sauce will look nicer if you make it smooth and even, in my opinion. Taste and add salt if needed.
STEP 6.- Turn off the heat and place the clams carefully in the sauce (so the part of the shell that actually has the clam is in the sauce). You can place the closed ones too, but discard them if they don’t open after the next step.
STEP 7.- Sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley. Turn on the heat (medium-high) and cook the clams for one more minute. Serve hot.