Clams with Sherry and Serrano Ham, serves 4-5 as a tapa, preparation time: 20 minutes plus soaking, cooking time: 10 minutes
1kg of clams
100ml olive oil
5 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Shallot or ½ a Spanish onion, finely chopped
6 slices Jamón Serrano (cured ham), roughly chopped
1 teaspoon plain flour
1 teaspoon hot pimentón, although the sweet variety will do as well
150 ml fino sherry wine
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Start by soaking the clams in cold water for about 20 minutes to allow them to release any sand trapped in their shells. Rinse thoroughly under cold water and discard any that are open, broken or don’t close when tapped firmly.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan (wide enough to hold all the clams) over a medium heat and add the garlic, onion and jamón. Cook until the onion is translucent, but not coloured.
Add the flour and pimentón and stir-fry for 20 seconds to cook the flour. Add the sherry, stirring all the time and then quickly flambé by setting light to the pan using a lighter or long matches. If you don’t want to flambé the sherry don’t worry, just cook for 1 minute so that the alcohol evaporates. Add the cleaned clams to the pan, turn up the heat and shake the pan vigorously, tossing the clams a couple of times. Season to taste and stir in the parsley, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes until the clams are fully opened (throw away any that remain closed). Stir again before serving with lots of fresh bread to soak up the sauce.