Almejas con Alubias Blancas
Most of Spain’s shellfish comes from the coast of Galicia where saltwater from the Vigo Estuary enters the freshwater of the Rías Baixas. As well as producing half of Europe’s mussels, these sunken river valleys are major producers of the clams which appear in many Spanish seafood dishes. In this recipe the clams are combined with white haricot beans in a classic shellfish dish which can be served as a filling starter or as a main course.
Many traditional Spanish recipes call for ‘alubias blancas’ which is a generic term for numerous types of white beans which were introduced into Spain from the Americas. This particular dish originates from Asturias where it frequently appears on menus as ‘Fabes con almejas’ signifying that it is cooked with large faba beans which are grown in that region.
Serves 4 people
- 1kg of clams
- 3 x 500g jars or tins of white haricot beans. You should have between 1200g and 1500g after they have been drained.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- 150ml white wine
- 250ml fish stock (optional) – you can use shop bought stock or make your own – see Fish Stock Recipe
- parsley (optional)
- freshly ground black pepper
Wash the clams and discard any that have a broken shell or are open. Soak them in cold salty water for up to 1 hour to get rid of any sand inside them.
Put the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and fry for 5 or 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a minute or two more until the garlic goes golden.
Add the beans, the white wine, a little parsley and some salt and freshly ground black pepper, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and cook for a few minutes. I also add 250ml of fish stock at this stage to make the dish quite liquidy. This is optional and if you prefer a slightly drier dish then don’t add it.
Add the clams, put the lid on the frying pan and cook on a medium to high heat for a few minutes until the clams open.
Serve with some crusty bread.
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