Fino Sherry

Sherry and shellfish are classic partners. While a range of styles, from light and dry to rich and sweet, come from the “triangle” around Jerez, this dish calls for a classic fino. The wine’s salty, savory notes give punchy seasoning to the broth.

The advent of spring ushers in clam digging season. Whether gathering your own or buying from the fishmonger, this dish, common to southern Spain’s Andalusia, is easy to replicate at home. Just add crusty bread from your favorite artisan baker to soak up the delicious sauce.

Serves 2-4; Time: 15-20 minutes


3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
4 dozen cockles and clams, such as littlenecks (can swap any shellfish like mussels, if desired)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup fino sherry
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 cup finely chopped parsley, divided
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons cold butter, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Country bread, for serving


1. Always buy shellfish fresh from a reputable purveyor. Place clams and cockles (if using) in a colander under cold water. Scrub to clean. Check they are closed, or if ajar, close when tapped gently. Otherwise, discard.

2. In a large sauce pot over medium heat, warm two tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and stir to release fragrance, one minute. Add clams, wine, sherry, lemon juice, half the parsley, and smoked paprika. Bring liquid to a low boil and cook, lid on, about 8-12 minutes, shaking pan occasionally to help clams open. Discard any unopened shellfish. Divide clams into bowls, leaving broth in pan.

3. Salt and pepper broth to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce slightly. Add cold butter and stir until dissolved. Pour sauce over claims. Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve with crusty bread.