Almejas a la marinera (Clams in a tomato sauce)

14 Jul

This is a really simple recipe that tastes great and I think is quite healthy. I used clams but I think mussels or even razor clams could be used. I know mussels are much cheaper, but also need more prep. 

The sauce is flavoured with fresh tomatoes, sherry, garlic, and flat leaf parsley. I used Manzanilla sherry which is pale, dry, and aromatic. The alternative would be to use a Fino like Tio Pepe but I don’t think it has the fragrance that the Manzanilla adds. The important thing is to use a dry pale sherry. 

Clams are low in fat and what fat they do conatin is high in Omega-3. Fresh tomatoes are bursting with good stuff, so all in all I think this is a healthy dish. 

This recipe only takes 10 mins or less to cook but needs about 40 mins prep time (of which 30 mins is letting the clams soak in icy water). I thinks there’s enough for two as a light lunch or four as as part of a tapas session. 

I recommend using a large heavy frying pan or saute pan with lid, or as I use, a Le Crueset casserole pan with lid. 


1 kg live clams, prepared as below; 125 ml Manzanilla sherry; 2 or 3 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped; 2 or three ripe tomatoes finely chopped; small bunch of fresh flat leaf (“Italian”) parsley finely chopped; 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil; Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to season; Crusty bread to mop up the juices


I was lucky that the clams I bought from the fish counter at the local Eroski supermarket were wonderfully fresh and clean from grit. At 8 euros per kg I think the extra service was merited. Mussels sell for at least 60% less per kg but do need more prep. If you use mussels instead (which I bet are equally delicious) then there’ll be more prep. Any good cookbook on seafood will explain the process. 

On to prepping these clam bad boys. In cold running water scrub the clams looking out for any that are broken or open. Throw the broken ones away. Give the open ones a solid tap. If they close keep them, if not then throw the open ones away. Drain then and then plunge them into a bowl of iced water for about 30 minutes. If your using large clams or even razor clams then double this time. Drain and use as directed. 


The actual cooking time is only 8 or so minutes so best to have serving bowls warmed and bread sliced, etc. 

First, heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped toms and stir through to coat the toms in oil. Add the chopped garlic and stir through for a few minutes until the garlicky aroma hits you. 

Then, add the drained & prepared clams to the pan and shaking it vigorously. Cover tightly and turn heat to high. Cook for about four mins. By then the clams will have opened. Some may remain closed and must be discarded. Some clams will have been freed from their shells and in the broth, and some will be in the open shells. Season with the sea salt and pepper and serve immediately. I think you can also cool them at room temperature and enjoy them tapas bar style later. 




3 Responses to “Almejas a la marinera (Clams in a tomato sauce)”

  1. Tony Woodgate July 14, 2013 at 16:11 #

    Hi George, looks like one well worth trying. We get good shellfish here in Jersey so I may well try it with the local razor clams that are really sweet. Not sure that the tomatoes will be as good as the ones you get there so I may go for a tin instead.
    Keep up the blog and I will let you know how I get on.

    • cocinacaseraespanola July 14, 2013 at 16:17 #

      Thanks for taking the time Tony. I seem to remember being able to get good toms in the UK which were Guernsey grown. Waitrose, if you get them on Jersey, have really good plum tomatoes as well. I would suggest trying it with fresh toms before trying it with tinned. Let me know how it goes with Razor Clams. I had them last year for the first time at Rick Steins Seafood restaurant and they were just wonderful.


  1. Mariscos a la Marinera | el chino latino cocina - August 22, 2013

    […] Almejas a la marinera (Clams in a tomato sauce) ( […]

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