Whenever the weather is warm and sunny I seem to always gravitate to some type of a seafood meal. It’s light, tasty and quick to prepare. So there is not much time spent over a hot stove, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors. Better yet, if you have an outdoor eating area, why not enjoy this lovely meal there? Bring a nice bottle of a semi-dry wine, some water and you have a wonderful evening or day meal.
I have made this meal for myself numerous times because it is really easy. But today I wanted to add some salty and meaty punch to this just to kick it up a notch. So, what’s salty and meaty? How about some Spanish chorizo? If you never had it before, I assure you, you will be very pleased.
Spanish Chorizo is a sausage. And who does not enjoy a spicy sausage. Yes, this has some spice to it and that’s what makes it taste so good. Where does it get its’ great flavor from? Spanish chorizo is made from coarsely chopped pork and pork fat, seasoned with pimentón – a smoked paprika – and salt. It is generally classed as either picante (spicy) or dulce (sweet), depending upon the type of pimentón used. This is why this is a great compliment to just about any clam dish. By the way, the cockles are clams, just smaller and prettier. In the United States, Spanish chorizo is available in two different forms: fully cooked and dry (to be sliced like salami/pepperoni), and fully cooked and soft (semicured). I purchased the fully cooked and dry. It provided a beautiful taste to the meal. Remember, a little goes a long way. Unless you REALLY love sausage, then go ahead and add some more.
I am also obsessed with shrimp because of the sweetness and how quickly you can prepare it so I just had to add it to this recipe. Hey, a girl can be free in her kitchen.
Toss this with some spaghetti and you will feel like you are in the Meditterranean! Enjoy!
Shrimp, Cockles & Chorizo with Spaghetti
Ingredients: Serves 4
- 2 pounds cockles (small clams)
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 4 ounces Spanish chorizo, diced
- 4 Italian dried peperoncini, seeds only (dry red chilies)
- 1 latge tomato, chopped
- 1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and deveined with tails on
- 1 large handful fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
Clean the clams, discarding any with broken shells or any that won’t close when you tap them. Place in a large bowl of very cold water with the cornmeal for about 30 minutes. Make sure to carefully mix stir the water to disperse the cornmeal.This will draw out the debris from the clams. Rinse and drain until the water is clear.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to directions for al dente. (Cooked, but firm, not mushy)
Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed large saute pan that has a fitted lid, heat the olive oil over a low heat. Add in the garlic, chorizo, perperoncini and chopped tomato and cook until the garlic is fragrant but not burnt. Add in the clams and coat with the oil. Add in the shrimp and cover the pan. make sure to turn the shrimp over once pink on one side. Add in the parsley and carefully mix to coat the clams once more
Once the pasta is done, using tongs, add in the pasta to the pan. This will bring in some of the cooked pasta water which will thicken the sauce. Carefully toss to incorporate all of the ingredients, adding in additional cooked pasta water as needed so the pasta will not be dry. Serve immediately.