Clams and ham, Almejas al fino con jamon

Clams, garlic, pimentón, jamón and sherry… does it get more irresistible?

I imagine myself seated amid the hustle and bustle of a typical tapas bar somewhere in downpueblo Andalucia. On the battered old zinc counter, the saucers of clams with ham clatter down like a drum roll.I have a glass of fino in hand and I am ready for what o mio host is about to put before me.Sweet clams and salty ham are a perfect combination, and this tapas dish or sharing bowl is idiot-proof and can be made in minutes.
Clams always look good served in small deep bowls scattered with fresh coriander or parsley.Put a big soup plate in the middle of the table for discarded shells.The two different salty-sweetnesses, of cured ham and clams, combine to make something larger than lunch,especially with some parsley, a little chilli, a glass of cold fino and not forgetting good white bread for blotting up those complicated briny juices.In 
Catalan, cloïses amb pernil.So if you  have a voracious appetite and a purse that can compensate go out and fetch yourself a sack of Amêijoa-Boa now, and if you don´t you will only live to regret it.It is a crime that is not too hard to tolerate.

1 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic,peeled and halved
½ shallot, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon plain flour
1 teaspoon hot pimentón, although the sweet variety will do as well
handful of coriander, stalks included, roughly chopped
500g fresh clams
50g serrano ham coarsely chopped
100ml fino sherry
handful of chopped parsley leaves and/ or coriander for garnish

Wash the clams thoroughly,discarding any that have broken shells or are open.In a deep  pan with a lid, heat the oil and cook the onion for 5-7 mins till softened but not coloured. Add the ham and garlic to the onion  and cook for 1 min. 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 clams to the , cover and cook for 4-5 mins shaking the pan vigorously until the clams have all opened (discard any that haven’t). Serve immediately, sprinkled with parsley and a grating of black pepper.


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