Properties of clams: benefits and recipes

Clams are a food which stand out thanks to their high protein, mineral and vitamin content. Learn the best recipes and how to cook clams mariniere.

fresh food

11 February 2020


Properties and benefits of clams

Clams are a source of high-biological-value proteins, omega-3 fatty acids and they also have a low-fat content. As for minerals, these molluscs are a source of iron, iodine, selenium, phosphorus and potassium. Over 100 grams of meat exceeds the recommended daily dose of both iron and iodine for an adult. Finally, they are also a source of niacin.

Types of clams

  Carril clam: named after the town in Galicia where they'reproduced, their more or less oval shell has 'grids' formed by radial ribs andconcentric grooves which intersect and are more marked at the ends. Theircolour, between white and light brown, varies depending on the sand wherethey're raised.

  Japanese clam: their shell is dark, between dark brown, grey andblack, with very pronounced streaks which also form very small grids, but moremarked than in the Carril clam. Italy is one of the countries in which they aregrown intensively.

  Pullet carpet shell: grey or cream with brown spots, their shape is moreoval than the Carril. They have concentric lines which intersect with thinnerradial lines, but don't form grids like the previous ones.

 Red clam: their shell is smooth and brighter than other clams,yellow, pink-brown or with reddish-brown spots.

 How to cook clams

The usual method of cooking clams is to steam them, but clams can also be cooked on the grill or fried "al ajillo" (with garlic).

If you decide to steam them, the technique is very simple. After soaking them to remove the sand, put two fingers of water in a pot. When it starts to boil, add a utensil for steaming or, failing that, a metal strainer and cover them until they've opened.

If, on the other hand, you decide to cook them on the grill, put a griddle over a high heat with a splash of olive oil; when the griddle is very hot throw all the clams in at once and keep the heat on high. Make sure the griddle has a large-enough surface to fit all the clams "lying down". In about 2 minutes, they'll start to open. Don't let them cook too long, otherwise they'll end up with a “gummy” texture. Every so often, remove them with a wooden or silicone spoon. Add a good splash of lemon or a sauce of oil, garlic and parsley.

How to make clams mariniere


  • 600 g clams
  • ½ medium onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ chilli pepper
  • 20 g wheat flour
  • 1 heaped tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 15 ml homemade fried tomato
  • 10 ml sherry or white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Fresh parsley
  • Extra virgin olive oil


1. Fill a saucepan with plenty of water and a handful of coarse salt and add the clams to wash away the sand. Let it soak for at least 2 hours. It helps to change the water every half an hour.  

2. Once the sand has been removed, open the clams by steaming them in a casserole dish with a glassful of water, a teaspoonful of coarse salt and a bay leaf. As they open, remove the clams and set them to one side. Keep some of the cooking water as well.

3. Meanwhile, make the sauce in a pan. First, simmer the chopped onion, chilli and garlic. When the vegetables are ready, add the paprika and flour and stir very quickly to make a paste or roux.

4. Quickly add the sherry or white wine and stir until the alcohol evaporates.

5. Next, add the fried tomato and the water which you used to cook the clams. Taste it and adjust the salt level if needed.

6. Let it reduce for about 5 minutes and put the opened clams in the pan. Leave for another 3 or 4 minutes until the sauce reaches the desired thickness and turn off the heat.

7. Ready to serve!