It is a great experience to collect cockles in Brittany.
Françoise and Hervé from Plouescat discover for us the art of collecting cockles along the long sandy beaches of Brittany.
When the tide is at the lowest, many goes to the beach just with a basket, a rake and a little shove to dig in the wet sand and discover the hidden cockles (called "coques" in French).
Not all the cockles are there to be collected.
Only the ones measuring more than 2,7 cm can be collected, so to protect the reproduction of the cockles.
Moving slowly the sand, looking for the cockles and discarding the ones already opened are too little is hard work, bending under the hot sun of the summer.
But the reward is great, there are many cockles in Brittany and it is fairly simple to make a good basket after few hours of work.
And then ?
And then the work is not finished.
You have to put them in salty water to clean them for the sand.
Leave the cockles in the water for at least 24hrs, changing the water few times so that they can finally be cleaned of the sand and of the other impurities.
It is also an easy way to discard the empty shells and the one not good to eat as they will float in the water after having been left few hours in the water.
When the cockles are finally clean steam them with some butter, black pepper and échalotes, a particular kind of onion from the North of Brittany.
Stir them and take them out of the heat after five minutes.
Most of the shells are now empty and what you have to do is only to separate the shells from the cockles.
Finally cook them with some saphron and enjoy them just with some rice.
This post has been made thanks to Françoise and Hervé Caroff from Plouescat.
With great passion and love for collecting the cockles and walking on the beautiful beaches, Françoise collects cockles at Keremma Beach, on the Brittany Coast near Plouescat. Thank you Françoise and Hervé!
Want to read more about traditional Brittany? Read Menhir, ghosts, mysteries and great countryside...
Want to read more posts about French Cusine? Read Camembert roti au miel and How to make great Galettes Bretonnes.
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