Surf Clams with Onion, Pancetta & Paprika

Recipes | Pan-Frying | Steaming Serves 4 Surf Clams with Onion, Pancetta & Paprika

This dish shines with the sunny flavours of Spain, where smoked paprika is often used and shellfish and pork is a popular combination.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, finely diced
1 x 200g piece pancetta, finely diced (see notes)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (see notes)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup dry white wine
2kg Surf Clams, purged (see notes)
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
Crusty bread, to serve


Heat a wok or large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion has softened. Stir in the paprika and garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the white wine, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the Clams, cover and cook over a high heat for a couple of minutes, until they start to open. Using a slotted spoon, remove open shells to a large bowl. Cook for another few minutes, removing shells as soon as they open. 

Stir in the parsley, taste and add salt and pepper (remembering that the juice from the shells is already salty). Pour over the Clams and serve with lots of crusty bread to soak up the juices. 


Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly; use streaky bacon if it is unavailable.

Smoked paprika is available from specialty food stores and adds a lovely earthy aroma.

Clams are usually sold ‘purged’ to remove sand and grit, however it’s still a good idea to place them in a large bowl of cool salted water and sea salt (30g salt per litre water) for several hours or overnight, at room temperature, to get rid of any remaining sand (if you refrigerate them they’ll close up and won’t ‘spit out’ the sand).

Alternative species:

Blue Mussel, Pipi, Sydney Cockle, Vongole.

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