Recently I was enjoying happy hour at one of my favorite seafood restaurants, and I ordered a saffron clams dish. There have been many ways to doctor the broth to present clams and mussels, but I’d never heard of this colorful approach.
The bowl came out with a beautiful red broth, adding a smoky taste to the clams. I decided to make a version of this at home, pumping up the Spanish influence by adding chorizo. This is a nice dish to make for a light dinner or a quick starter for two. (And of course, this would probably work just as fine with mussels.) Enjoy!
Saffron Clams Recipe
Makes 2 servings
1.5 lbs. fresh clams, scrubbed clean
1 Spanish chorizo (about 3 oz.), chopped into 1/4-inch bits
half a small onion, finely diced
1 t garlic, minced
1 large pinch of saffron threads (about a tablespoon)
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken or seafood broth
2 t smoked paprika (pimenton)
1 t cilantro, finely diced
1-2 T vegetable oil
pinch of salt
In a large saucepan or wide shallow pot, warm oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes until onion is translucent. Add chorizo and cook for about a minute. Then add white wine, turning up heat to high. Cook for about 30 seconds and then add broth, saffron, smoked paprika and salt. Reduce heat and cover to simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Turn up the heat to medium high and add clams and cilantro and cook covered until the clams pop open (about 8 to 10 minutes). Laddle opened clams into bowl, adding as much of the broth you like, and garnish with more cilantro. Serve immediately with toasted baguette.
TIP: Make sure you don’t crowd the clams or pile then stacked on top of each other. It helps them pop open if they’re not crowded. Also, sometimes I find it helps when you tap on the hinge side of the clams with a wooden spoon if they’ve been cooking for awhile. Throw out any clams that do not open.
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