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Clams in Tomato and Wine (Almejas en Tomate y Vino)

Written By: Byron | November 16, 2023
A large pan of Spanish-style clams in tomato and wine.

This recipe for clams in tomato and wine is similar to ‘Almejas Botin’ found in the incredible book ‘1000 Spanish Recipes’ by Penelope Casas. The original version is from the Spanish restaurant Sobrino de Botin, located in Madrid. Clams are cooked down with Spanish paprika, onion, and garlic, and simmered down with plenty of white wine. 

This recipe can be served as a tasty tapas or as a main meal. It is ready in around 2 hours, 20 minutes (2 hour for the clams resting in a salt water bath, 20 minutes cook time).

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Serving:

Tapas for 2

Ready in:

2 hours, 20 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread, wine

A bowl of fresh clams sits beside spices, fresh parsley, and some wine and tomato paste.

How to Make Clams in Tomato and Wine (Almejas en Tomate y Vino) 

Ingredients

(serves 2, tapas)

  • 1 lb (450g) clams
  • ½ white onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 hot pepper/chili (small if a very spicy variety)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 6 oz. / 175 ml dry white wine
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Flour (around 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Fresh parsley

Equipment needed

  • Large skillet/frying pan with lid 
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife

Method

  • First, wash and inspect the clams, and discard any clams that are open or broken (see notes below on how to prepare fresh or frozen clams). 
  • Soak clams in salt water for around 2 hours for best results (this helps remove any grit from inside the clams).
  • Chop and brown an onion, then add the garlic, a bay leaf, and chili pepper. 
  • Reduce heat to medium, add tomato paste, paprika, and wine, and mix through. 
  • Slowly introduce some flour a little at a time. Mix well to ensure there are no lumps. 
  • Place the clams into the mixture, and cover. Simmer for around 5 minutes or until the clam shells are open. 
  • When the clams begin to open, add some fresh parsley. Serve with some fresh bread.

 Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

Spanish-Style Clams in Tomato and Wine

You’ll find variations of a clam recipe in nearly every Spanish recipe book, although we’ve based this version on the recipe we found in Penelope Casas’ book, 1000 Spanish Recipes. It’s originally from the famed restaurant Sobrino de Botín. The name ‘Almejas Botin’ loosely translates to ‘Clam bounty’ or ‘clam plunder’. It is a fantastic recipe that’s easy to make and looks fantastic when served in an earthenware dish or even straight from the skillet. 

Sobrino de Botin – The World’s Oldest Restaurant

Sobrino de Botín is a famous Spanish restaurant located in central Madrid, founded by a French cook named Jean Botin who moved to Madrid together with his wife, a Spanish woman from Asturias. The restaurant originally opened in the 18th century and is still in operation today, claiming the title by the Guinness Book of World Records of the world’s oldest restaurant.

Ingredients and Substitutions

With just 11 ingredients, you’ll want to keep to the list of ingredients as much as possible to recreate the authentic ‘Almejas Botin’ recipe. Aim to use the freshest clams you can and use a dry white wine. As this is a seafood recipe, use sweet Spanish paprika (unless you want some extra spice, then use spicy paprika). 

Pepper/Chili

To give the sauce some heat, use fresh chili. We opted for one whole large Guindilla pepper, a Basque pepper known for its subtle mild spice. These aren’t always easy to find overseas but don’t worry, use your favorite chili depending on how hot you like your food. This shouldn’t typically be too hot for this dish since clams have a delicate flavor. Aim for a subtle background heat, rather than using a pepper you’d use to make a chili. 

Best Clams to Use

We suggest talking to your local fishmonger and requesting the freshest clams they have available, since it will depend on where you live. A good option is to go for littleneck clams, which are usually common and are medium-sized clams that are usually around 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm) in size.

Other clam varieties in a similar size are Top Neck clams, Steamer clams, or Hanibi white clams. Clams over 3 inches (7.5cm) tend to take a little longer to cook and are harder to serve. 

How to Prepare Fresh Clams

It is important to clean your clams before cooking with them to purge the sand and grit that the claims contain and can pass into your recipe. If you have a particularly good fishmonger though, they may have already done this step so check with them first. Here’s how to clean and prepare clams for cooking: 

  • Clean each clam and remove any grit or barnacles from their shells. 
  • Inspect each shell and discard any that have cracked or broken shells. 
  • Soak in a saltwater bath for 2 hours to purge any sand from inside the clams (about 2 cups of water per 1 tbsp of sea salt). You should cover the clams with enough water to just go above their mouth / opening.  
  • Rinse in freshwater and you’re ready to cook your clams. 

Frozen Clams

When fresh clams are not available, it is okay to use frozen clams. If you’re going to freeze fresh clams to use later, make sure you put them in a salt water bath first, otherwise the purging of the sand won’t work after they’ve been frozen. Thaw them in the refrigerator for a few hours before use. Note that frozen clams may open slightly once they thaw out, this is totally normal. Be sure to inspect each clam and discard any clams with broken shells. 

Wine

We use white cooking wine for this recipe. It is inexpensive and has an 11% alcohol volume. It is a dry white wine, although sweet wines can be used if you prefer. 

FAQs

What are the best clams to use for this recipe?

Aim for clams around 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm) in size. Fresh clams such Littleneck clams are ideal.

How long do clams take to cook?

Allow somewhere between 5-10 minutes for clams to cook on the stovetop (in liquid in a skillet with lid). 

Do I need to clean clams before cooking?

Yes. It is always a good idea to clean any grit from the shells of fresh clams. Use saltwater to purge any sand from the clams. Soak for around 1 hour. If you have an exceptional fishmonger, they may have already purged the clams so check with them first. 

A large pan of Spanish-style clams in tomato and wine.

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 2

Amount per serving

 

Calories

241

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 0.8g

1%

Saturated Fat 0.1g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 1432mg

62%

Total Carbohydrate 40.9g

15%

Dietary Fiber 3.2g

11%

Total Sugars 12.4g

 

Protein 3.8g

 

Vitamin D 0mcg

0%

Calcium 51mg

4%

Iron 2mg

12%

Potassium 615mg

13%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

A large pan of Spanish-style clams in tomato and wine.

Clams in Tomato and Wine (Almejas en Tomate y Vino)

Byron
Clams in tomato and wine (Almejas en tomate y vino) is a delicious seafood dish where clams are simmered down with paprika, onion, garlic, and white wine.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soak time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, seafood, Side Dish, tapas
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
Servings 2 tapas
Calories 241 kcal

Equipment

  • Large skillet/frying pan with lid
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 450g clams
  • ½ white onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small hot pepper/chili
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 6 oz. / 175 ml dry white wine
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Flour around 1 tablespoon
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • First, wash and inspect the clams, and discard any clams that are open or broken (see notes below on how to prepare fresh or frozen clams).
    1 lb 450g clams
  • Chop and brown an onion, then add the garlic, a bay leaf, and chili pepper.
    ½ white onion, 1 bay leaf, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 small hot pepper/chili
  • Reduce heat to medium, add tomato paste, paprika, and wine and mix through.
    6 oz. / 175 ml dry white wine, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, ½ teaspoon salt
  • Slowly introduce some flour a little at a time. Mix well to ensure there are no lumps.
    Flour
  • Place the clams into the mixture, and cover. Simmer for around 5 minutes or until the clam shells are open.
  • When the clams begin to open, add some fresh parsley. Serve with some fresh bread.

Video

Notes

How to Prepare Fresh Clams

It is important to clean your clams before cooking with them to prevent the clams containing sand and grit that can pass into your recipe. Here’s how to clean and prepare clams for cooking 
  • Clean each clam and remove any grit or barnacles from their shells. 
  • Inspect each shell and discard any that have cracked or broken shells. 
  • Soak in a saltwater bath for 2 hours to purge any sand from inside the clams. 
  • Rinse in freshwater and you’re ready to cook your clams. 

Frozen clams

When fresh clams are not available, it is okay to use frozen clams. Thaw them in the refrigerator for a few hours before use. Note that frozen clams may open slightly once they thaw out, this is totally normal. Be sure to inspect each clam and discard any clams with broken shells.

Nutrition

Serving: 200gCalories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 40.9gProtein: 3.8gFat: 0.8gSaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 1432mgPotassium: 615mgFiber: 3.2gSugar: 12.4gCalcium: 51mgIron: 2mg
Keyword 30 minute recipe, clams, clams in tomato sauce, Easy tapas, seafood, Spanish tapas, tomato, White wine

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