This is a very typical dish from Asturias, one of the most stunning regions in Spain where we go every year on holiday. The logo of Asturias is 'a natural paradise', and it is one of the few places where you can find proper alpine-like mountains just forty minutes away from a gorgeous coast line. If you like outdoor activities and sport, look no further.
The dish is also the only way to make my youngest son eat clams.
- 500 gr white beans
- 1 onion (cut in two)
- half a green pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a pinch of paprika
- a bay leaf
- water - enough to cover the beans, around 1.5 l and then a couple of additional glasses of water (though if you have good fish stock this will be even better)
- a pinch of saffron
- a quarter of a teaspoon of parsley (chopped thinly)
- 800 gr good clams
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Soak the beans in water overnight. Then put them in a big pan with the water and salt, green pepper, onion and garlic cloves (all vegetables should be whole) the olive oil and the bay leaf. Let it come to the boil and then reduce the heat to minimum and let it simmer. After on hour throw in the paprika, saffron, salt and also a glass of cold water (in Asturias this is said to ‘scare the beans’ and makes them softer). Add another glass of cold water after another half an hour. After that time take the pepper, garlic cloves and onion out with a bit of the cooking liquid and blend it. Then put the blended liquid back into the pan. Normally the overall cooking time is 2 hours (though it can take up to 2.45 hours depending on the size and quality of the white beans. As you can see in the picture ours were gigantic. In any case the final result should be silky beans, as soft as butter.
Separately (and after the beans are cooked) heat a frying pan, add the clams (clean them well beforehand) and half a glass of white wine. Wait until the clams open up (discard those that do not), put the clams on top of the beans and also add the clams liquids to it (put it though a sift first as sometimes clams have a bit on sand in them).
Trust me on this one: it really is paradise food.