Clams are very popular in Portugal. Amêijoas com vinho branco (Portuguese clams in white wine) are typically cooked over an open fire in a traditional cataplana, a metal vessel made of two concave halves that clip together to tightly enclose and steam the ingredients. Pork is often added in the form of chouriço, ham or bacon – but you can create a delicious pescatarian version with the same smoky flavours and aroma using some extra smoked paprika and garlic. Clams are usually sold purged to remove sand and grit, however if you buy them loose it’s still a good idea to place them in a large bowl of cool water and sea salt (30g salt/litre water) for several hours or overnight at room temperature to get rid of any remaining sand; don’t refrigerate them or they’ll close up and won’t ‘spit out’ the sand. Packaged clams are already purged and best stored in their bags until ready to cook. Use a good commercial piri-piri sauce or make your own (see video below).
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