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Spiced Clams

Origin: Spain

Clams and seafood in general are yet another typical Spanish dish, especially near the coastline and in the North of Spain. Spanish clams are much bigger than clams elsewhere and are known for being extra juicy and succulent. This is a simple yet tasty Spanish clam recipe with a modern twist. Furthermore, total preparation time for this recipe is only around 15 minutes and so it is a quick recipe to produce if you are in a rush.

This Spiced Clam recipe uses a number of spices which give a kind of Moorish taste to the dish, reflecting the part of Spanish history when the Moors ruled the majority of the Spanish peninsular. The spicy sauce is perfect when used as a dipping sauce or a sauce to cover the clams in. Just make sure that you serve this Spanish dish with ample amounts of fresh, soft bread so that you can mop up all of the delicious sauce at the end!


Spain is a country known for its fish and seafood, an industry which is particularly important to the Spanish economy. Fortunately, the Spanish coastline is both very large and very varied; ranging from the cold, harsh Atlantic Ocean to the warm Mediterranean Sea. Therefore many of the coastal regions and cities have their own fish specialities, and fish and seafood dishes are still popular much further inland.

Of course, there are a number of different types of clams, something which you will notice if you ever go to a seaside restaurant when you visit Spain. One of the best varieties to use for this dish is the 'almeja fina' which is also known as the 'Carpet Shell Clam', so called because its shell is brown with a yellow criss-cross pattern that resembles a carpet. These clams are most commonly found in the North of Spain such as the community of Galicia but are readily available in the rest of Northern Europe as they are fished in the North Sea as well. If you are unsure, you can always ask your local fishmonger in the supermarket or at the fish market.

Cooking with shell fish is always very important to get right as it is easy to get ill from uncooked or bad shell food. Therefore make sure that before you start cooking the clams, you remove any of the clams whose shells are already open. You should only cook clams whose shells are closed. However, after cooking you must throw away any clams whose shells are still closed. These simple rules will, hopefully, avoid any upset stomachs. Also, allergies to seafood are quite common so if you are thinking of cooking this dish for a party, make sure you find out whether any of your guests are allergic to seafood.


Another good idea is to copy the French and provide a large bowl where you can put the empty clam shells after they have been eaten as otherwise they can clog up your bowl. This is commonplace in France when mussels are served. Plus, due to the ample amounts of sauce, it is also a good move to provide your diners with ample serviettes and napkins to clean up!

Spiced Clams


  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 stick of celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 2cm (1 inch) piece of root ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsps Olive oil
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1¼ lbs small clams in shell
  • 2 tbsps dry white wine
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Celery leaves to garnish
  • Fresh bread to accompany
  • Serves 4


  • Put the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, and celery into a large pan and add the spices, olive oil and chopped parsley.
  • Stir fry the ingredients for around 5 minutes.
  • Add the clams to the pan and then cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the wine to the pan and then cover. Cook for around 2-3 minutes over a gentle flame, shaking the pan occasionally to mix up the ingredients.
  • Get rid of any of the clams that do not open and then season.
  • Serve with a garnish of celery leaves and enjoy!