Spicy Spanish Clams

I’ve been dreaming about these clams simmered in spicy, garlicky tomato sauce ever since having them at a local tapas place last month. The rest of our meal was just ok, but the clams were outstanding – I wanted to drink the leftover sauce right from the plate. It was one of those meals that I immediately knew I had to put my own spin on at home.

I gave my version a more sultry, smokey flavor by using fire roasted tomatoes and a big shake of smoked paprika and rounded it out with a big pat of butter. Served with wedges of sourdough bread for soaking up the extra sauce and a big plate of garlicky green beans, this is the kind of meal you’ll happily linger over for hours.

spicy clams

Sopa de Almejas at Barcelona Restaurant in Albany, NY

Yields 4

Spicy Spanish Clams

10 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

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  • 1 large can (28 ounces) Muir Glen Organic fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 24 littleneck or middleneck clams, scrubbed well
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Lightly toasted sourdough bread, for serving


  1. Puree the tomatoes in a food processor or blender.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan set over medium-high heat. Add the garlic; cook 2-3 minutes or until light golden brown and very fragrant. Pour in the tomato puree, smoked paprika, red peppers, and cayenne. Reduce heat to low and let simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the clams in a single layer (work in batches if necessary) and cook until they pop open – about 5-8 minutes. Stir 1 cup of the cooking liquid and the butter into the sauce to thin it out a bit. Add the cooked clams in their shells; simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Serve with big wedges of lightly toasted sourdough bread for dipping.