Steamed cockles with garlic & parsley butter.

What better way to enjoy Leigh cockles than to give them centre stage and let them talk for themselves? This is a simple but delicious recipe, and works wonderfully for a laid-back summer lunch. Getting your cockles fresh from the sea adds some preparation time, but can’t be topped for freshness!


  • 1.5 kgs of fresh Leigh cockles, in their shells
  • 2 cups of white wine
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • A handful of celery leaves
  • 50g butter
  • 1 generous handful of parsley, finely chopped


  1. If your cockles have come straight from the sea (delicious!) you’ll need to soak them in a bucket of salt water for a few hours to purge them before getting started with the rest of the recipe! Once your cockles are purged, peel and chop the garlic, and chop the celery leaves into small pieces. Give your cockles a good scrub and place them in a large pan with a lid.
  2. Add the wine, garlic and celery leaves to the cockles and bring the pan to a boil, leaving the lid on. As the wine heats, the cockles will begin to steam. Once their shells are opened, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool a little.
  3. Drain most of the liquid, leaving roughly four tablespoons in the pan with the cockles. Add the butter and chopped parsley, and warm through over a low heat, shaking constantly to make sure everything is evenly spread. Once hot, serve immediately, spooning the buttery juice over the cockles. This works brilliantly with fresh, crusty sourdough and a glass of white wine!