Mussels and Clams Provencal

Paleo * Gluten free


I was at a birthday brunch for a friend on West 20th Street and the magnetic pull of Chelsea Market Place extended the 5 blocks I needed to walk there.  I love going to Chelsea Market Place, it’s a New York City food mall and home of The Food Network (I’ll remember to take pictures for you the next time I go), the shopping is great.

I went to the fish store and opted for the mussels and clams because it was Sunday and no matter how excellent the fish store, Sunday is not the best day to buy fish.  Bivalves, on the other hand, are fine as long as they are still alive – and any good seafood monger will only put “good” ones in your order.  I chose to use both clams and mussels because they looked so good and were both small – the way I like them.  You can use either clams or mussels with equally good results.  Cooking times may vary on this recipe as it takes longer to cook larger clams and/or mussels than it does the small ones I chose…and if you are using both clams and mussels, put the clams up to cook first as they always take longer to open than comparably sized mussels.  Also, clams are brinier so you don’t need salt for them; if you are only using mussels, you may want to taste the sauce and see if it needs salt before serving. So I got home and was deciding whether to make a red or white sauce for them when I saw these two previously beautiful tomatoes still languishing on the counter.   That sealed the deal…Provencal…and yummy.

Mussels and Clams Provencal

The tomatoes must be very ripe and juicy for this recipe to work.  In fact, if you are looking at tomatoes you are considering chucking due to over ripeness, quick go out and buy some clams or mussels or both.  If you don’t have ripe tomatoes, you can substitute a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes.

1 pound mussels

12 cherrystone clams (or 3/4 to 1 pound more mussels)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2/3 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chopped ripe tomato

1 cup white wine or broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons chopped parsley + additional for garnish

1 bay leaf

Pinch red pepper flakes, optional

Salt to taste

1.  Thoroughly rinse and debeard (pull off any stringy material) the mussels.  Rinse clams thoroughly.  Discard any mussels or clams that are not tightly closed or do not close tightly when tapped or that are cracked.




2.  In 4-quart pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, wine, tomato paste, parsley, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes; increase heat to high and bring to a boil.



3.  Add the clams to the pot; cover and cook, over high heat, 2 to 3 minutes or until one or two of the clams have started to open.  Add the mussels; recover and cook until all the mussels and clams have opened, about 2 minutes or more depending on the size of the mussels and/or clams.  Discard bay leaf and taste the sauce to see if it needs salt.   Place in serving bowls and sprinkle with additional chopped parsley if desired.  You can use the shells to scoop up the sauce and enjoy the total experience.


Serves:  2 as main course or 4 as appetizer

MENU:  Mussels and Clams Provencal, Tossed Green Salad with Vinaigrette,  Gluten-free Pasta (use the sauce from the Mussels over the pasta) with Vegan Parmesan cheese,  Poached Pears




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