Spicy Clams in Saffron Tomato Sauce

Spicy Clams in Saffron Tomato Sauce Recipe

This is an upscale version of traditional "moules frites", Belgian bistro-style mussels and fries. I substituted clams for mussels and sweet potato fries for regular French fries. 

The clams are cooked in delicious cherry tomatoes and a pinch of saffron. I'm a little disappointed with the number of ripe tomatoes I was able to pick this morning because of the horrible weather we've had this year in the Bay Area. Nonetheless the tomatoes still tasted incredibly sweet and delicious.

You can check out the recipe for the oven sweet potato fries in my first cookbook, Haute Potato. On a separate note, I'm thrilled to announce that my second book, Banh Mi is shipping. For those of you who had placed a pre-order, it should be arriving soon. Check your Amazon.com / BN.com accounts!

It feels surreal to have the book in my hands and to see the project come to completion. If you like banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches), I think it will be a lot of fun to cook your way through this book. You’ll get a real taste for the different products sold in a Banh Mi shop. I can’t wait to answer your questions and hear about your experiences!


Yields: 4 servings

3 pounds fresh clams, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ yellow onion, sliced
¼ cup dry white wine
1½ cups cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
1 fresh chile, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon whole pink peppercorns
⅛ teaspoon saffron threads
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
juice of 2 limes


In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil.  Add the onion and garlic.  Cook for 4-5 minutes until golden. Add the clams (remove and discard any opened ones). Add the chile, dry white wine and 1 to 1½ cups water.  Stir well. Bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes and saffron and cook over high heat for 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add cilantro, then turn off the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. The clams should open; discard any that do not.

When ready to serve, drizzle with lime juice. Serve with sweet potato fries on the side.



For extra richness, you could finish the dish at the end with a touch of heavy cream or 1 tablespoon butter.

If the dish is too spicy for your palate, you could use sweet peppers instead of the fresh chile.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on June 26, 2013.


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