10-12 hours (including brining)
For the brine
- 15g light brown sugar
- 15g sea salt
- 1 heaped tsp sweet paprika
- 300g water
- Peel of 1 lemon
- 8 sprigs thyme
For the stew
- 2 x 200-250g pork collar steaks (about 2-3cm thick)
- 400-500g palourde clams
- 15 sprigs parsley
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 15g butter
- 1 romano pepper, finely diced
- 1 large garlic clove, finely sliced
- 200ml Portuguese white wine
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 lemon, juice
First make a brine solution by dissolving the sugar, salt and paprika into 300g of warm water (there’s no need for it to boil, though you may need to stir). Allow that to cool completely.
Put the pork steaks into a ziplock bag or a Tupperware container that snuggly fits them. Pour the brine into the bag / over the pork, and add the lemon peel and thyme and seal the bag or container. Place in the fridge for 10-12 hours.
When the time is up, pour the brine away and discard the thyme and lemon. Place the pork steaks on a plate uncovered in the fridge to dry out a bit—2-8 hours is fine.
Purge the clams by placing them in a bowl of cold water for 15 mins. Remove the clams, and pour the water and any grit away.
Cut 4cm or so from the end of each parsley stalk and chop very finely (leaving the main part and leaf intact). You’re now ready to cook!
Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan (ideally one that will fit a lid from one of your saucepans) on the hob and turn it to medium-high. Add the vegetable oil and allow it to heat for 30 secs before placing the (fridge cold) steaks in the pan. Cook for 2 mins without turning, then flip them over and cook for 2 mins more. Turn again and add the butter, which should immediately froth.
Cook the steaks for a further 45-60 secs on each side, then remove and rest them on a warm plate for 2 mins while you cook the clams. The pork should have a lovely brown crust on the outside, and will be about the equivalent of medium done in the middle—which, if you buy good meat from one of the Market’s butchers, is absolutely perfect.
For the clams, add the diced pepper, chopped parsley stalks and garlic to the still hot but now empty pork pan (don’t clean out any of the juices). Cook and soften over a medium-high heat for 30 secs, then add the clams and shuffle the pan. After another 30 secs, pour in the white wine, add the paprika and shuffle the pan again as the alcohol begins to cook off. Place a lid over the top. Cook at a medium heat for 2-3 mins; the clams are done when they’re fully open.
Remove from the heat, take off the lid and add the lemon juice, parsley sprigs and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Give the clams and red juices a good stir and allow the parsley to wilt.
Cut the pork steaks into thick slices and divide between bowls or plates that’ll hold plenty of liquid (2 if you’re majoring on the meat, 3-4 if you’re adding sides). Spoon the clams, parsley and lots of juices over the top.
Image: Ed Smith
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