Recipe: Lime and Chilli Clams with Tomato


Life’s a Feast by Bec Stanley – Mountain Scene food columnist

Over summer, we have the luxury of being able to dig for fresh clams at my husband’s family bach in the Marlborough Sounds. Like most Kiwi foragers, we have a secret clam spot, so we need to get creative and come up with new and adventurous ways in which to serve them. My ‘go to’ is our family favourite of Spaghetti alle Vongole. However, the recipe below is quite different from the traditional, using tomato as its base. As always with seafood, less is more when it comes to ingredients, letting the seafood shine. The recipe below is no exception. Fast, simple and delicious, this is perfect for a lazy summer evening. Enjoy. By the way, don’t forget to create your entries for Saturday’s Lake Hayes A&P Show. There are fabulous prizes for all the baking, preserves, vegetable, blokes, kids and flower sections, to name a few.

PREP TIME – 7 mins

COOK TIME – 12 mins



1 red onion

4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup beer (I used Altitude Brewing’s Mischievous Kea)

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 fresh chilli, sliced

30 little neck clams (if using tuatua youcan use fewer as they are bigger)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley


1. Halve your onion lengthways then thinly slice both halves. Next, peel and thinly slice the garlic.

2. Heat the pan to a medium heat and melt the butter. Add the sliced onions and cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and chilli. Cook for a further 2 minutes until all have softened.

3. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further minute, thoroughly combining with the onion and garlic.

4. Pour in the beer and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes until the beer is reduced by about a half. Tip in the drained chickpeas and bring back to simmer.

5. Add the clams, thoroughly combine with the sauce, then put a lid straight on. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the clams have opened. If you have quite differently-sized clams, you may want to take out the smaller ones that have opened first so they don’t overcook while you let the others open.

6. Return all clams to the pan and gently mix the lime juice through the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a little parsley and serve immediately with fresh crusty bread or toasted pita bread.