Arroz de Lingueirão is a delicious seafood rice from traditional Portuguese cuisine. It comprises of short grain rice, razor clams, peppers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Making it the perfect choice for the warm days in the Algarve – where it’s easy to find very fresh and perhaps the best Atlantic Razor Clams available.
Lingueirão also known locally as Navalha, the Portuguese word for razor. It is a bivalve with long symmetrical shells that resemble the shape of a straight razor. They dig the sand and anchor themselves using their foot which inflates with water allowing them to move. As their shells are sensitive to changes in temperature and salinity, the technique used to collect them is to sprinkle salt where they are anchored, making them easier to pick. However, like many shellfish, their filtering characteristics makes them prone to containing harmful chemicals and toxins. It’s important to make sure to buy them from certified sellers, or if harvesting them yourself check local sources that they’re safe to collect.
As an ingredient Lingueirão is incredible. Its velvety texture and delicate sea fragrance go amazingly well with white wine, garlic and fresh herbs in a Bulhão Pato style or for those with more time on their hands in this Arroz de Lingueirão.
Arroz de Lingueirão Recipe
For this recipe we used Carolino rice, one of our favourite varieties for creamy dishes, but you can use any short grain rice of your preference. Our personal touch this time was to add some turmeric power to get a vibrant yellow colour!
- 1kg Razor clams – lingueirão
- 400g Carolino Rice
- 1 Large onion – thinly sliced
- 2 Medium tomatoes – roughly chopped
- 180g pepper – thinly sliced
- 2 Garlic cloves – minced
- 1l Water
- White wine
- 2tbsp Salt
- Black pepper
- Fresh cilantro
- Bay leaf
- 1tsp Turmeric powder
- Rinse the razor clams thoroughly, then inspect them one by one, discarding any dead, broken, or damaged shells you find. You can check if they are alive by gently tapping their skin, they should contract.
- Add the water to a large saucepan, place it over high heat, bring it to a boil. Quickly boil the shells till they pop open. It should take a minute, remove them from the water, reserving the liquid which will later be used to cook the rice.
- Remove the clams from the shells. Although many recipes we came across will recommend using the whole clam, we prefer to remove their stomach which might contain some grit and sand. If you do not mind it, you can skip this step. Their stomach is in a dark pouch in the middle of their body, and it should be easy to remove with a sharp knife. Rinse the cleaned clams to make sure there is no sand left. Cut them in half or if you prefer, leave them whole.
- Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, pepper and bay leaf. Cook everything for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the tomatoes, and a pinch of salt, let it cook for another 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, strain the water used to cook the clams using a cloth or fine colander, then reheat it.
- Add the rice to the onion and pepper mixture. Braise it for 2 minutes, add the white wine, then the clam liquid. Season it with salt, black pepper, and turmeric powder, stir it then cover it with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low, let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Check if the rice is cooked, then add the clams and more water if needed. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat, the dish should have a consistency similar to a risotto. Serve it with some roughly chopped cilantro and more freshly ground black pepper.
Let us know what you think in the comments! For some other delicious seafood recipes, take a look at our recipe for Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato, the traditional method of serving clams. Or for something unique Carne de Porco à Alentejana, and dish that combines clams and pork.
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