This recipe is slightly more involved than the simple clam dish Carla showed me on the video, but she was teaching me the very basics. For those of you ready for something more interesting, this dish promises a hearty meal, and a more unusual one. To be served with Portuguese cornbread, of course. (Recipe follows.)


Photo by Ryan Szulz, from the Pimentos & Piri Piri (Whitecap Books).

Clams in Cataplana with Pork, White Wine, and Coriander


A cataplana, a hinged clam-shaped cooking vessel, is so popular in the Algarve beach resorts that dozens of dishes have been named after it. If you do not have a cataplana, use a wok or a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and carefully cover the lid with a kitchen towel; do not uncover the pot while cooking.


• 2 lb (1 kg) Manila clams

• ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

• 4 oz (120 g) pork tenderloin,

• 1 onion, chopped

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 ½ cups (375 ml) peeled, 
seeded, and chopped tomatoes

• ½ red bell pepper, seeded,
 cored, and diced

• 4 oz (120 g) chouriço, sliced
 into ½ -inch (1 cm) pieces

• 1 bay leaf

• ½ tsp (2 ml) fine salt

• ¼ tsp (1 ml) coarsely 
ground black pepper

• ½ tsp (2 ml) dried oregano

• ½ tsp (1 ml) piri-piri sauce
 or Tabasco sauce

• ½ cup (125 ml) dry white

• ¼ cup (60 ml) chopped
 fresh coriander

• 2 slices prosciutto, chopped

1. Using a stiff brush, scrub the clams under cold running water to remove any surface sand and grit. Discard any clams that are not tightly closed. Set aside.

2. In a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat; cook the pork for 2 to 3 minutes, until browned, and transfer to a dish; reserve. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, chouriço, bay leaf, salt, pepper, oregano, and piri-piri sauce; simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

3. Transfer half of the tomato mixture to bottom of cataplana. Arrange the clams overtop and cover with the remaining tomato mixture. Tightly secure the cataplana lid and simmer over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Flip the cataplana over and unlatch it; add the reserved pork and the wine and sprinkle with the coriander and prosciutto. Tightly secure the cataplana lid and cook until the shells open and the pork juices run clear when pierced with fork, 5 to 8 minutes (check for doneness after 5 minutes of cooking and continue cooking if meat is still pink). Discard any clams that have not opened. Serve.

Recipe excerpted from Pimentos & Piri Piri (Whitecap Books) by Carla Azevedo.