Serve the cod in soup bowls with the cockles scattered around / Jason Lowe
Serves 4

A nice chunk of cod cooked on the bone is a comforting thing, and we seem to have moved away from good old-fashioned cod steaks or cutlets to nicely trimmed cod

Fresh cockles are becoming much more popular now, thankfully, but they do need careful preparation, as they tend to be gritty.

Leave them in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes, agitating them with your hand every so often to loosen sand from the tiny grooves on the shells. Repeat this with fresh water after half an hour.

4 cod cutlets or steaks weighing about 250-300g
3 large shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
100g butter
500g cockles, washed
250ml dry cider
200ml double cream
2tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 220/gas mark 7. Season the cod steaks, place on a roasting tray and rub with butter. Bake for about 15 minutes, checking if the middle is hot by inserting the point of a sharp knife near the centre bone.

Meanwhile, give the cockles a good rinse and drain them. Gently cook the shallots (in a large pan) for a minute or so, add the cockles and cider, cover and cook on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, shaking the pan every so often, until all of the cockles are just open.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the liquid into another pan. Boil on a high heat for a few minutes until it has reduced by about two-thirds. Add the cream and parsley and continue boiling until it has reduced by half. Add the sauce back to the cockles and re-heat for a minute or so. Serve the cod in soup bowls with the cockles scattered around.