This fabes con almejas recipe from Spain was first brought to our attention by Maureen Dolan, as one of her favourite Spanish dishes. It piqued my interest as I love beans, and love clams. Enjoy!
Fabes are fava beans. They are large white beans that you can get in all Spanish supermarkets. Either buy them ready to use in a jar… or get dried ones. The dried ones will need soaking and rinsing overnight. Almejas are clams. You can substitute any shellfish for this dish – but the clams give it a real sweetness, and then it wouldn’t be “con almejas”.
- 1/2 kg of fabes
- 1 kg of clams
- 1 medium carrot – peeled but kept whole
- 1 medium onion – peeled but kept whole
- 3 or 4 garlic cloves – finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- Olive oil
- 2 large glasses of white wine (1 for the recipe & 1 for you!)
- Heaped tablespoon of flour
Drain the beans and pop into a large saucepan (one that has a lid), along with the bay leaf, onion and carrot. Cover with cold water and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, you may need to skim off some foam from the top. Have a swig of one of those two glasses of wine.
Turn the heat down to really low, and leave it to simmer very gently. If using jarred beans, this will be ready for the next step in about an hour. If using dried beans… this will take about 4 hours. Top up with cold water if it starts to get low.
Gently sweat the garlic in plenty of olive oil in another pan.
In a bowl or jug, mix the recipe glass of wine with the flour until any lumps are removed. Have another drink of YOUR glass of wine, and top it up if you’ve necked it.
Before the garlic starts to turn golden, add the wine/flour mix into that pan and stir well. Take a small amount of the water from the beans pan, and add it to the flour/wine/garlic mix. Chop about 3/4 of the parsley and add into that pan.
Add everything from the garlic pan into the beans pan and stir well. Let it simmer for a minute or two. It should be thickening well as the flour cooks. Keep the heat low – do not let it burn. Add extra water if it thickens too much.
Rinse the clams well and chuck them into the beans pan. Turn the heat up to medium, cover and leave for 3 or 4 minutes. You can shake the pan every minute or so to get everything coated and mixed well. That works better than stirring, as then the beans don’t disintegrate (not that it matters anyway)
Fish out the onion, carrot and bay leaf. Leave to simmer for another 5 minutes.
Chop the last quarter of fresh parsley ready to decorate.
Serve with fresh bread, sprinkled parsley, more wine (if you haven’t drunk it all) and send your husband to do the washing up. I like it with a bit of cracked black pepper on top too. The dish that is… not my husband!