Few people eat cockles, but the bivalve remains popular in European cuisine. Found on the beaches of saltwater seas, the cockle is a mollusk, closely related to the oyster. Learn the proper way to cook cockles for an interesting meal.
- Skill level:
Harvest or purchase fresh cockles. Cockles are found on the beach, buried a few inches in the sand. A more popular option is to buy fresh cockles from a reputable seafood distributor in your area. Perform an Internet search; many seafood companies have websites from which costumers can order cockles.
Inspect the cockles to ensure the shells are closed. Due to the habitat in which the cockle dwells (sand), cockles need to be thoroughly rinsed under cold water several times to rid the shell of debris. If debris remains during the cooking process, it affects the flavor in a negative way.
Fill a large stock pot with water and steam the cockles to cook them. Add any of the following to intensify and compliment the flavor: cooking wine, garlic, fresh vegetables, ground pepper or other spices. Steam until the shells of the cockles open; this signifies that the cockles are ready to eat.
Serve the cockles right out of the shell. Expect to experience a fresh, firm meat.
Tips and warnings
- Refrigerate fresh cockles right away and cook them within 24 hours of purchase for optimum taste and safety.
- Never eat a cockle whose shell didn't open after steaming. This could signify that the cockle was dead before you began the steaming process--hard to know how long it was dead, so it could cause illness.
- Always choose fresh cockles that have a completely closed shell.