Small clams, also known as carpet shells

Vongole is a small species of clam popular throughout Italy. They are known as carpetshell clams here in Britain, while the French recognise them as palourde.

They are perhaps best known as a main ingredient in Spaghetti alla Vongole, a classic dish found in Italian restaurants worldwide.

They can be difficult to find in their live, fresh guise, which is the preferred option for the above dish, but tinned clams can be found in many delicatessens and may be an acceptable substitute if the quality is high enough. Personally though, I'd rather use an alternative live shellfish such as another kind of clam, or even cockles, rather than tinned or frozen vongole.

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