Cataplana (Portuguese clams and pork)

Enjoy a taste of the Algarve with Paul Bloxham's simple but flavourful recipe for fresh clams and pork, a traditional Portuguese dish
By Paul Bloxham
Cataplana (Portuguese clams and pork)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus marinating
  • Effort: easy



  • 1 head of garlic, simmered for 10 minutes, cloves peeled
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • sea salt, d freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 650 g loin of pork, cubed
  • 50 g portuguese salpicao, or chourico sausage or chorizo, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 kg fresh clams
  • 1 loaf of Portuguese bread, or sourdough bread, sliced, to serve


1. In a mortar combine the garlic, chilli flakes, sea salt to taste and half of the parsley and pound with the pestle until smooth.

2. Stir in 100ml of olive oil to make a paste.

3. In a bowl, toss the pork with the garlic paste and marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

4. Heat the remaining olive oil over a high heat in a cataplana (a Portuguese lidded pan) or a large, lidded sauté pan.

5. Once the oil is hot, add in the salpicao, onion, celery and green pepper. Season with sea salt and fry, stirring, for 2 minutes.

6. Add in the marinated pork and fry, stirring, for 2 more minutes.

7. Add in the white wine and chopped tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

8. Add in the clams and season with sea salt.

9. Cover the cook for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan now and then.

10. Remove from direct heat and leave to stand covered for 5 minutes.

11. Open the pan and discard any clams that haven't opened. Mix in the remaining parsley.

12. Serve at once with bread.

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