spicy clams or mussels

spicy clams or mussels

This spicy clams or mussels sauce was inspired by a dish served at our neighborhood Italian bistro. Their sauce is so good, I sop up every last drop with the crusty bread they serve along side. The shellfish release moisture as they steam, so you only need a few cups of the sauce to start the process. Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili pepper paste made from red chilies, cumin, caraway, garlic and olive oil. It is easy to make, but I pick it up in the ethnic section of my grocery store. It adds a bit of kick to a flank steak marinade or some homemade hummus. The fire roasted tomatoes add a smokey flavor.

spicey clams or mussels

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 leak, chopped, use white part only
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ cup tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup sweet Vermouth
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • ½ cup butter
  • 4 pounds clams or mussels, scrubbed
  • garnish: lemon juice and chopped parsley



In dutch oven on a cooktop burner, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.


Add leaks, garlic and chili powder. Sweat until garlic is transparent.


Add tomatoes and vermouth and cook two minutes.


Add fire roasted tomatoes and butter, simmer for 5 minutes.


Meanwhile, rinse the clams or muscles. Scrub the shells.


Add the uncooked clams or mussel and continue to simmer until the shells open.


Spoon into bowls and include some of the sauce.


Garnish with a dash of lemon and chopped parsley.

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