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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Amande de Mer. The Sea Almond or Dog Cockle. A Tasty Clam on French Menus.

from
Behind the French Menu
by
Bryan G. Newman
Updated June 2018


The sea almond shell.
              
Amande de Mer, Amande Marbrée or Amande - The sea almond or dog cockle. This clam is often part of a French fresh seafood platters. They are on most French seafood restaurant menus as “amandes” which can cause some confusion for visitors with only a French - English pocket dictionary for translations as outside of seafood restaurants amandes translates as almonds. 
           
When dog cockles are on the menu on their own, they are often lightly fried with garlic, and parsley butter or stuffed with tomatoes and herbs. This is a tasty clam and does not need to be buried in a sauce.
  

Dog cockles stuffed with tomatoes and herbs.
 
Dog cockles on French Menus:
          
Amandes de Mer Farcies au Fromage –  Dog cockles stuffed with cheese and lightly baked.

Assiette de Fruits de Mer (crevettes roses et grises, bulots, amandes, langoustines, huîtres bretonnes) – A platter of seafood: pink and gray shrimps, whelks, dog cockles, Dublin Bay Prawns and oysters from Brittany
  
Cannelloni d'Amandes de Mer et St-Jacques, Sauce Vierge – Cannelloni, the tube-shaped pasta; here filled with the meat of the sea almond and the King scallop and served with a sauce vierge.  A sauce vierge is made with virgin olive oil, herbs, and wine vinegar.
   

Fresh dog cockles
   
Duo de Moules et Amandes de Mer Farcies au Beurre d'Épinard et Parmesan – A matched serving of mussels and dog cockles prepared with buttered spinach and Parmesan cheese.
   
The sea almond is not the most popular clam in France since it is a little tougher than others, but it is a delicious clam and has its own fan base. This clam is also considered a prime candidate for an escabeche.
      

Dog cockles, sea almonds, on sale in a French market.
www.flickr.com/photos/gigile/6557132747/
                       
The sea almond shell is easily recognized; it has ridges, but the shell itself is relatively smooth. These clams can be up to 6 cm (2.3”) across and usually are colored a pale brown to yellow-brown with clear markings.
    

Cockel boat at Leigh on Sea, UK.
www.flickr.com/photos/donaldjudge/22085012719/
               
Remember, if an amande or amandes are on a regular menu, then they will be indicating the nut, the almond, not the clam, but on a seafood menu amandes are seafood restaurant shorthand for the amande de mer. Make sure what you are ordering!

The Sea Almond or Dog Cockle in the languages of France's neighbors:
  
(Catalan – ràbia), (Dutch - gewone marmerschelp), (German- meermandel, gemeine samtmusche), (Italian - pie' d'asino), (Spanish - almendra de mer).   

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Bryan G Newman

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