The night before, the Missus did not feel like cooking anything big and came with a succession of “snacks”.
One of them was cockles she had steamed in Sake or “Sakamushi Asari”.
She usually utilizes Japanese sake, but this time she opted for old Chinese rice wine. Of course one can replicate the recipe with a dry white wine!
When you choose your cockles at the market, tap them ligtly with a finger. If they are alive you will see them retract whatever was poking outside. If not, disregard them.
First leave the cockles in slightly salted water overnight to have them disgorge any sand that has been inevitably sucked inside.
Next day drain water and have them “dance” inside a bowl by making them twirl/run around by hand for a minute. This will have them retracting more inside. After cooking they will detach easily from their shells. Incidentally, “tossing” them will not work.
Drop them in a fry pan with a good glass of sake , some mirin/sweet sake and som shoyu ponzu (normal soy sauce is too salty or strong). Cover with a glass lid and heat them on a strong fire until they are all open. Serve them in dish with a good measure of chopped thin leeks.
Simple is sometimes the best!