When living in Cascais Portugal, at the end of each day I would see people gather at the local seaside bars and cafes and snack on clams Cataplana and drink beer. I brought home a Cataplana dish and we cook this dish regularly as a main meal. We prefer mussels and half the fun is a trip to Granville Island to our favourite seafood store, The Lobster Man
In the old days, the ‘cataplana’ was used by huntsmen to cook their meals in over charcoal fire.
The few times we have mussels left over, I take them out of their shell and refrigerate them. The next day I cook up Soba Noodles and serve the left over mussels and sauce over the soba noodles. Always be careful when eating and storing shellfish; here is a good site for shellfish food safety
I realize most people will not be able to head off to Portugal to buy a Cataplana dish! Don’t worry, I have made this dish in a pot and it is just as good. Do not add any liquid you will be amazed how much comes from the mussels.
Clams or Mussels in a ‘Cataplana’
- 3 lbs clams or mussels
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion
- 50g smoked ham
- 2 medium-mild spicy Spanish chorizo sausages
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 piri-piri or chill flags
- 1 sprig of parsley
Clean the mussels under running water using one mussel to scrape any barnacles off another.
Pour the olive oil into the ‘cataplana’.
Cut the onion(s) into thin slices and add them to the pan with the piri-piri, pepper and a little paprika. Fry the onions but do not let them brown.
Cut the meat into small pieces and add to the pan together with the clams or mussels and a sprig of parsley. Cover the ‘cataplana’ and cook for 20 minutes (over med heat)
Serve immediately, uncovering the ‘cataplana’ at the table and take a moment to enjoy the aromatic smells.