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Enjoy a Taste of Andalusia with Clams in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Clams in Spicy Tomato Sauce
September 2022
Reading time 2 Minutes

Bring out those flavours of the sea

For me, clams are such a beautiful thing to cook – and, of course, to eat. I really love these sweet little shellfish, as they’re so succulent and versatile. With so many different types of clams available, it’s exciting to explore different ways to cook with them – or you can even just eat them raw. When I was a child, when we would travel down to Andalusia, our neighbouring region, to visit extended family, my mum would cook clams simply with Fino sherry, and we’d enjoy them with a rice dish.

Here, I'm using different spices, which at first you might think are too strong and will take away from the flavour of the clams. Don’t worry, this is not the case. Follow the recipe and cook the clams properly bring out those flavours of the sea, and then you’ll notice how well this goes with the heat from the chillies. Just perfect.
  • 3 dried ancho chillies
  • small pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted
  • ½ tsp sweet smoked pimentón de la Vera
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 800g tomatoes, chopped
  • 75ml water
  • 2kg clams, cleaned
  • small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • crusty bread, to serve

Rehydrate the ancho chillies in hot water for 20 minutes, then deseed them and put in a heavy pestle and mortar or small food processor. Add the chilli flakes, toasted cumin seeds, pimentón, garlic and vinegar. Season and mash or whizz to a paste, adding a splash of water to loosen.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chilli paste and cook for five minutes, then add the tomatoes and 75ml water. Cook for 10 minutes.

When the sauce is almost ready, heat a large, lidded heavy-based pan over a high heat. Add the clams and 100ml water and cover to steam for one to two minutes until the shells open. Remove and discard any that do not open and then tip the clams, along with their juices, into the spicy tomato sauce. Toss well and scatter with parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

José Pizarros book cover

The Spanish Home Kitchen:
Simple, Seasonal Recipes and Memories from My Home by José Pizarro
(Hardie Grant, £27)
Photography © Emma Lee

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