What is a Cataplana?
I ate my first Cataplana many years ago in the resort of Albufeira on the Algarve in Portugal, it was a revelation and could not resist buying the pan to take home. We hung it on our dining room wall as we had seen in the restaurant that we ate in on that holiday, a friend asked, what is that, some sort of ornimental wok? We were greatly amused and now that´s our nickname for it.
So the dish that is known as Cataplana is really the name of the pan it is cooked in, in consists of two parts, the lid and base fit together to form a tight seal, so that the clams are steamed and the dish retains its moisture. If you don´t have a Cataplana then a Dutch Oven will do the job just as well.
I bought a book on my way home at the airport, and used the recipe in that for years. However this year after a another visit to Alvor, I decided that it was a little heavier than it could be an searched the internet for a different recipe. I found one on foodnetwork.com by Tyler Florence that was a little nearer to something I ate in Alvor, but it wasn´t quite there for me. I wanted something with more moisture and also I wanted to incorporate things easily available here in Mallorca.
So here is what I came up with, if you decide to try it please let me know what you think.
If you like this recipe try my Pork and Clams in Cataplana