Chili Clam Appetizer Recipe
This little appetizer is a re-interpretation of a dish I like to make with Crab, but using very small, sweet Clams instead. The sauce is based on plain tomato-sauce jazzed up with the very popular Sriracha Sauce, and rounded out with a little vinegar, sugar and rice wine. It is actually meant to be served hot right from the pan but it works very nicely chilled as well.
Here you can see the frozen clams I have used for this recipe. I am afraid I do not know the species but any very small variety (ideally with thick, hard shells) will do. Once you thaw them, you should reserve any clam liquor thrown off, as shown in the small bowl beside the clams in the above picture. You can, of course, use fresh clams (or even Mussels), if available, but, again, reserve the liquor after steaming.
This recipe specifically calls for Sriracha Sauce and the flavors are balanced with that in mind, but you can substitute with any comparable chili sauce as long as it is not heavily flavored with other ingredients. Similarly, the Shaoxing Wine can be replaced with any rice wine, or even a Dry Sherry.
The Method for Making the Chili Clam Appetizer
To make the sauce mixture, blend together the Tomato Sauce, Chili Sauce, Sugar, Vinegar, and Shaoxing Wine, then add a sufficient amount of the Clam liquor to bring the total volume to 1 cup.
By the way, at the left of the bowl of sauce in the above picture you can see the amount of green chilli I use. The chilli is the very mild Anaheim variety and I used it as much for color than additional spiciness. Feel free to substitute with Jalapeño, or even something more fiery, if you like.
To cook, heat a little oil in a pan over high heat and gently slice in the clams followed by the green chilli (save a little for a final garnish).
As soon as you can hear the clams sizzling, pour over the sauce and let it bubble and cook down until about half the original volume. Finally, plate for service and sprinkle over the last of the chilli.
Your Recipe Card:
Chili Clam Appetizer
- 1 lb Frozen Small Clams
- 1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Sriracha Sauce
- 3 Tbsp. Finely diced Mild Green Chilli
- 1 Tbsp. White Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. Sugar
- 2 Tbsp. Shaoxing Wine.
- De-frost the Clams and Reserve the liquor thrown off.
- Make the sauce mixture by blending together the Tomato Sauce, Chili Sauce, Sugar, Vinegar, and Shaoxing Wine, then add a sufficient amount of the Clam liquor to bring the total volume to 1 cup.
- Heat a little oil in a pan over high heat and add the clams followed by 2 Tbsp. of the green chilli.
- When the clams begin to sizzle, pour in the sauce and cook down until reduced by half.
- Plate and garnish with the remaining chili just before service.