B1D5EC2C-3A7E-487F-A229-600CA75EE764Cockles, vongole , pipis from Goolwa.

02D5AEFE-17A9-4E7F-95F2-D86DCA11F397Fennel sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, tarragon and parsley. Deglazed with dry vermouth.

FE637EF8-8A6C-4CFD-B88D-8B0DF6D14833Add the vongole, cover, and the vongole will open very quickly. Open and serve with crostini…..bread of your choice brushed with extra virgin olive oil and toasted in the oven.



Usually when I buy vongole I have them with spaghetti (garlic and parsley and white wine), but now and again I like to play around with different flavours and because I had some Chorizo in the fridge, the vongole ended up being more Spanish than Italian.

photo 1

You can see the ingredients that went into this dish. Paprika is called pimenton in Spain. It has a smoky taste, but if you do not have it use common paprika instead.


Because the vongole release their salty juices when cooked, I generally do not add salt.  A recipe very similar  to this one but without the Chorizo is in my second book, Small Fishy Bites.

1k cockles
400-500g cooked Cannellini beans
3 Chorizo sausage (skins removed and sliced)
2-3 tsps smoked pimenton (mixture of sweet and
hot to taste)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 glass white wine (or Manzanilla or Fino sherry)
4 spring onions sliced
1-2 cloves garlic chopped finely
2 tbsp of tomato paste or 1 can (400grams)
of peeled tomatoes
2-3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2-3 springs of thyme
Lightly fry the sliced Chorizo in very little oil until it starts to brown. Remove it and set aside and use the same saucepan to proceed with the rest of the ingredients.
Add more oil to the pan and sauté the onions on low heat till they soften; add the garlic and pimenton, stir gently for 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, thyme and wine or sherry, cover and simmer until the sauce has thickened.
Add cockles and parsley.
Cover and cook until they have opened, shaking the saucepan occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.
Serve with plenty of bread.

Cooking with Spanish flavours sent me looking at some of the photos from my last trip to Spain. Fond memories of good old Barcelona and a butcher in Madrid!


Writing this recipe has brought back many memories of Spain..

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I enjoyed it very much.


SPAGHETTI ALLE VONGOLE (Spaghetti with cockles)

Vongole is the Italian word for cockles and pipis. When I lived in South Australia there were large succulent cockles that come from Goolwa, Middleton and the Coorong. In Victoria we call them pipis and they are found around the southern Victorian coastline.

Before you get excited about harvesting cockles from beaches you need to be aware that there are strong regulations for the harvest of these succulent little morsels because their numbers have been reduced significantly. It is positive to see that restrictions have been placed on the mechanical harvesting and numbers of licenses issued for the commercial fishing of cockles and there are now open and closed seasons to allow some of the stock to recuperate.

The above applies in South Australia and in Victoria and may be the case in other Australian states and in other parts of the world and it does not apply only to commercial fishers.

From Fisheries Victoria:
Although it is recognised in both states that fishers and families from a diverse range of backgrounds enjoy collecting pipis, either for food or bait, The reduced catch limit will help to ensure that access is shared among recreational collectors.

(The reduced daily catch limit of 2 litres with shells and half a litre without shells).

From Australian Marine Conservation Society (think twice classification):Cockles and Pipis
Notes: Harvested by hand from mud and sand flats; impact of intense localised harvesting unknown; uncertain stock status for all species; significant population fluctuations due to environmental factors; Pipi catches and catch rates in NSW have declined significantly in recent years.  

I bought 1 kilo and fed 4 people. As much as I like this dish, (and so did my guests), this is all I will eat this season- it will help me to appreciate them even more next season.

I use a large frypan to ensure more even cooking.

spaghetti, 500g
vongole, 1kg
extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup
garlic, 3-4 cloves crushed
chili flakes or 1 fresh, red, deseeded and chopped finely
parsley, 1 cup, cut finely
dry white wine
Rinse the vongole, rubbing to remove sand, and discard any open ones that don’t close after being gently squeezed or tapped (see above).
Cook the pasta.
Heat the olive oil then fry the garlic and chili lightly.
Add the vongole and parsley and shake pot for 1-2 minutes.
Add wine, cover and gently cook for a few minutes until the cockles are open — discard any that are not open and those that are empty.
Remove some cockle meat from the shells for ease of eating (I do not always do this).
Drain the pasta and combine with the vongole. Gently mix the spaghetti through the sauce.