Mussels and Clams with Spicy Tomato Broth

A spicy, brothy bowl of mussels and clams is at home in any season. Serve it with thick slices of crusty baguette, toasted and rubbed with raw garlic, for a sensational, simple meal any day of the week. This broth gets its heat from both fresh red peppers like Fresno or serrano chiles, and a dose of pinched red pepper flakes. You control the heat by what kind of pepper you choose - Fresno for subtle heat or serrano for a spicier edge. The wine, however, is not optional. Pinot grigio, both for cooking and drinking, is this broth's best bet.
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  • Total: 55 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 40 min
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3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing bread

1 onion, coarsely chopped

5 cloves garlic, smashed, plus 1 clove for the bread

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes with juices

1 to 2 red Fresno or serrano chile, thinly sliced (seeded depending on heat)

2 cups chicken broth, water, or a blend

Crusty bread, for serving

2 1/2 pounds littleneck clams (about 20)

1 1/2 pounds mussels (about 24)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. 1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper and cook until the garlic is tender and the onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Add the tomatoes with juices, crushing the tomatoes through your fingers, and the chiles. Simmer until the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.
  2. 2. Preheat the broiler. Add the broth and simmer,10 minutes. Meanwhile, brush the bread generously with olive oil and toast under the broiler, about 20 seconds per side. Remove and rub vigorously with 1 clove raw garlic.
  3. 3. Stir in the clams. Cover and cook, about 8 minutes. Add the mussels, give the pot a good stir, cover, and continue cooking until all the mussels and clams open, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. 4. Divide the mixture among 4 bowls, discarding any unopened shellfish. Garnish with parsley and serve with the toasted bread.
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