One of my first stops on my early Saturday morning shopping outing is Ian the fish man (as he’s known). He has a trailer stall in Kendal market and along with various fresh fish he sells cooked cockles. They have such a nice sweet/salty flavour, and eventhough they are best warm you can quite easily eat a bag on the way home. Ian recommended cooking them with bacon, and so one morning I did. The dish although lovely it needed something to cut through the fatty bacon and sweet cockles so I decided to give remoulade a go. Remoulade is a French condiment similar to British tartar sauce made with mustard, mayonnaise and vinegar (among other ingredients) that traditionally goes really well with fish.
I’m using white radish in the remoulade because I’ve never seen it before and I want to try it. It’s a lot less fiery than normal radish but still has a subtle peppery flavour. If you can’t find it (and I expect you will find it difficult as I’ve only ever seen it once) then you can use normal radish just use 50g instead of 80g. You could also replace the radish with celeriac which also works very well.
2 rashes of streaky bacon
For the remoulade
80g white radish or celeriac is using
1tsp English mustard
1 small shallot
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
First start by making the remoulade. Cut up the radish or celeriac if using into match stick sized pieces (by the way in restaurants they call this cut ‘julienne’) and add to a bowl. Mix in the mayonnaise, lemon juice and mustard. Finely chop the shallot and add to the remoulade, along with the capers and finally season with salt and pepper. Set aside until you are ready to use it. The remoulade will quite happily keep covered in the fridge for a few days. Remember to take it out of the fridge to come to room temperature before serving as it won’t taste as good cold.
Use de-shelled cooked cockles if you can and put them in a bowl of water to rinse them to get rid of any grit that might remain. Drain well and set aside.
In a frying pan add a little oil and fry the bacon until really crispy. When it’s done remove from the pan. You can keep the bacon warm in a low oven (about 50-100°C) until you are ready to plate up. Toast some slices of bread and keep warm with the bacon. Add the remoulade to the plate as the next bit of cooking happens quite fast.
In the bacon pan add a little more oil and using a wooden spoon scrap the bottom so you mix the bacon goodness into the oil. When hot again add the cockles and a knob of butter and fry for about 3 minutes to warm through. Removed the cockles and lay them on the toast. You can serve them now with the bacon but you can make a beurre noisette (burnt butter sauce) which adds a nutty flavour to the dish and makes it sound even posher, perfect if you’re trying to impress.
To make the beurre noisette add a large knob of butter (about 80g) to the cockle pan and let sizzle on a low heat until it smells nutty and goes slightly brown, be careful not to let it burn as it will taste awful. Use your nose to judge when its ready and if it smells burnt you’ve gone too far and you have to start again. When it’s done pour over the cockles. Garnish with some chives for colour and serve.