Foraging for Cockles (Vongole) close to home

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On the way to fetch milk from the farm I passed the bay where the locals forage for cockles and clams. The tide was right so I went down to the water and scooped up about 100 cockles with my hands. No implements allowed or needed and the quota is 150 shells per person. In the hour I was there I was kept company by a solitary black swan who kept an eye on what I was doing. I invited the troops for lunch and had Linguine alle Vongole on the table within 1 hour of harvesting.  Next time I will soak them in fresh water for a little longer  – my sauce was a little salty but no one complained

Linguine alle Vongole (spaghetti with a cockle sauce)

Use  a large saucepan with a lid that can hold all the vongole

100 cockles or vongole

6 tablespoons of olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 cup of white wine

Pinch of chili

Cook the garlic until soft but not colored, add the chili and rosemary, add the wine and cook for a few minutes. Put all the cockles in the pan and cover tightly. Cook until the cockles open, releasing their liquid. Remove the cockles to a heated dish as they open. At this stage start boiling the pasta, I use spaghetti in place of linguine because the grand kids will not eat anything else. When all the cockles are removed from the pan turn up the heat and reduce the liquid by about half to intensify the flavor. When the pasta is done and drained return the cockles to the pan and add the pasta, mixing well. Serve immediately. Do not add salt at any time.

Simple Italian food at its best – and I got to forage for it myself. I love this island!



3 thoughts on “Foraging for Cockles (Vongole) close to home

  1. Hi! Great site you have here. What bay is this? Papanui? Would love to get some cockles for the weekend. Also, would love to stop by and pick up a couple doz of your quail eggs, where abouts are you based? Ta, luke.

    • Luke – I am at 9 Lucan Street, North East Valley, Dunedin. Please just make sure I am home before you pick up eggs – also let me know whether you require hatching eggs or eating eggs, and how many. The vongole are just before Aramoana, as the road leav the sea shore. Look forward to hear from you.

  2. We never collected cockles (although there were plenty where my grandmother lived) but we did collect shrimp as kids and cooked them and ate them whole. Nothing like living near the sea for some food possibilities 🙂

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