For drawn butter and garlic sauce, place butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat without boiling. Using a spoon, skim scum and discard, then pour clarified butter into a bowl, leaving behind milky solids. Return clarified butter to a clean saucepan, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add lemon juice and spices and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bring 2cm of salted water to the boil in a large pan over high heat, add cockles, cover and cook for 2 minutes or until cockles open. Drain in a colander and divide among bowls. Serve cockles dipped in drawn butter and garlic sauce with wholemeal bread.
While oysters, mussels and scallops receive their fair share
of attention, there's a bevy of other shellfish, too, such as
pippies, cockles and clams, which promise plenty of pleasure on the
plate. These daintier varieties, along with mussels, should be
purchased alive. You can check their condition by tapping any open
shells - they should close immediately. They're sometimes sold
sandless (that is, purged of sand), but if they're not, you'll need
to purge them. Do this by soaking in salted cold water for about an
hour. Discard any shells that don't open during cooking. While
fresh scallops are available to restaurants, they're harder for
home cooks to lay their hands on. Look for examples with plump
flesh and always buy them fresh rather than frozen. If you can't
find shellfish at your local market or fishmonger, give your local
Chinatown a go.