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Alcachofas con almejas – Artichokes with clams, a taste of Navarra

This recipe is for you artichoke and shellfish lovers who can now combine the two in this delicious dish. This is a typical, very healthy and tasty dish from Navarra (northern Spain) cuisine.
Artichokes have been around in Andalucía (southern Spain) for centuries, and were originally named ‘al-jarshuf’ and introduced by the Arabs in the Peninsula. Today, artichokes are known throughout Spain, and worldwide.
White artichokes, known as Tudela, are round in shape with a circular hole in the top. This is because the outer layers do not join up to form the capitulum (the center part of the artichoke which we eat).
Artichokes have significant diuretic, choleretic and cholesterol properties, and is a great antioxidant to the liver.

This recipe for “Alcachofas con almejas” (artichokes with clams) serves 6 people. “Almejas” (clams) are a common shellfish in Spain, especially in Andalucía province, where seafood and shellfish are as fresh as can be.
20 artichokes (‘alcachofas’ in Spanish)
40 clams (‘almejas’ in Spanish)
200 grams of serrano ham (‘Jamón Serrano’ in Spanish)
2 medium sized onions
6 cloves of garlic
1 big tablespoons of flour
1 lemon
1 fish stock cube or 2 tablespoons of broth (‘caldo de pescado’ in Spanish)
Olive oil
Salt (to taste)
1) Wash the clams well. Place your clams in a big bowl (with water), it will make it easier to rub them clean. Then set aside, leaving them in soaking in the water.
2) Take your artichokes, remove the outer layers/leaves until you reach the tender bud/heart. Then cut the heart into two.
3) Now boil your artichokes in salted water and then set them aside.
4) Meanwhile, cut your onions (julienne style, into long strips) and cut the garlic cloves into very thin slices.
5) Cut the Jamón serrano into strips and set aside.
6) Now place your chopped onion and garlic into a pan and fry until golden.
7) When they are poached and transparent, add your Jamón serrano strips and clams add into the pan.
8) When you see that the clams are open , add your big tablespoonful of flour to the mix. This will make sure your clams get golden in colour.
9) Just before the flour turns golden, add a some tablespoons of wine and  your ‘caldo’ (1 fish stock cube or 2 tablespoons of broth). Boil all together for about 5 minutes, adding pinches of salt every 2 minutes.
10) Now, place your artichokes (drain them well first), together with all your ingredients in your pan into a casserole (preferable made of clay) and cook for another 5 minutes more.
Garnish with some fresh cut parsley and that is it, your artichokes and clams stew is ready to eat, enjoy!