They may be most associated with Dublin, alive alive-o, but cockles are available all over the world. Their small, heart-shaped shells contain a small, delicate morsel of flesh that can be eaten raw, steamed or boiled. A member of the clam family, although cockles may seem like a lot of work for little return, they have a delicious salty flavour that needs to be treated gently.
All year round.
Choose the best
Choose cockles with pale shells, as this indicates lighter flesh which is said to taste better.
Cockle shells are often full of sand so they should be soaked in fresh water for several hours before eating.
Refrigerate in a bowl under a damp cloth and use within 24 hours.
Eat raw, served with vinegar and brown bread. Alternatively, boil or steam the shells, or use in soups and stews.
Try mussel or oyster.