Inspired the original and utterly wonderful cockled popcorn on a recent visit to No 1 Cromer, I decided to try recreating it at home with successful results! I can’t justify stealing No 1 Cromer’s fabulous name, though, so renamed it the rather more prosaic cockle tempura. If you’re ever in Cromer, visit No 1 Cromer; they make brilliant seafood dishes. I also had a particularly tasty crab salad.
I adapted a tempura recipe from http://glutenfreerecipebox.com/gluten-free-tempura. As the Gluten-free Recipe Box explains, the secret to good tempura is cold ingredients, hence the rather unusual start to the beginning of this recipe. Of course, you can simply plan ahead (which I didn’t) and put the flour and water in the fridge for an hour or so instead.
50g rice flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
80 ml sparkling water
sunflower oil for deep-fat frying
Mix the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda together, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes, along the water.
When they’re cold, whisk them together. Heat 2 inches of oil in a saucepan to 190°C.
Add the cockles in batches to the batter, because it’s best not to crowd to the pan when you come to cook them (I divided them into three batches).
Mix well, then use a metal slotted spoon to remove them, placing them in a separate bowl (I found this helped me with the next stage).
Drop the battered cockles carefully in the hot oil using the metal slotted spoon, trying to separate them as they go in, otherwise they will clump together.
Fry for 30-60 seconds, then remove them using the slotted spoon and place them on a plate covered with a paper towel.