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Got shellfish and parsley? Grab a bottle of white wine and you've got a formula for a Basque feast!

New York City restaurant Txikito, run by chefs Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero, is an ode to the phenomenal food of Spain’s famed Basque region. Whip up a few of their specialties at home with the help of The Basque Book, and you’ll never throw a party without pintxos again!

I used to like going to the fish market around Christmastime with Eder’s maternal grandmother, Eulalia. The authoritative Basque matriarch would take an elevator from Bilbao’s Casco Viejo, where she lived, to Begoña, the neighborhood that towers high above the city. “Better fish at better prices,” she would say. “Of course she was right,” Eder would later say, “because she is a woman.” Eulalia’s fish lady was a well-known secret, betrayed by the lines that formed around the block. She had an incredible variety of fish and other sea critters, and everything she sold was pristine.

We would eat her clams raw. I remember that when I would bring my knife close to the plate, they would close around the blade so I could lift them out and pry them open in one motion. I had never seen such active clams.

This dish always makes me think of the heady ocean-infused perfume that rises when cockles or clams and parsley are mixed together. Salty and clean is the only way to describe it. In the Basque Country, you don’t need to buy parsley for your fish. Because fish is never eaten without parsley and is rarely eaten with anything more than that, parsley comes courtesy of the fishmonger. When we finished shopping, Eulalia and I would take the elevator back to the street, return home, place a sprig of parsley in Eulalia’s figurine of San Pancracio (Saint Pancras) for luck, work and money, and then get cooking.

Reprinted with permission from The Basque Book: