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Mussels and Clams in a Spicy Tomato Broth with Bacon

It’s summer and all the tomatoes are looking absolutely delicious! I just got over art directing a big photoshoot in another city and I’m getting over being sick, so I decided I wanted to prepare something easy and delicious. This recipe for mussels and clams in a spicy tomato broth with bacon comes together relatively quickly and looks delicious. Serve these mussels and clams with some crusty bread to soak up that delicious spicy tomato broth with bacon.

Normally, I prefer just clams in a spicy tomato broth but tonight I decided to do a mix of mussels and clams. You could prepare this recipe with a number of different seafood options, such as cod or shrimp or a mixture of everything! As I was thinking about preparing the mussels and clams in a spicy tomato broth, I thought, what could make this broth even better? How about spicy tomato broth with bacon? THAT’S IT. You could definitely omit the bacon or substitute it with pancetta. But this spicy tomato broth with bacon really, really hit the spot for me.


Serves: 4-5

Cost: $

Skill Level: Easy

Time to Make: 1 hour 15 minutes (20 minutes inactive)

Ingredients for Mussels and Clams in a Spicy Tomato Broth with Bacon


12 ounces thick-cut bacon

1 small yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

1-2 red Fresno chili peppers (more or less depending on spice preference, or use crushed red pepper to taste)

1½ pounds cherry tomatoes

1 cup white wine (or replace with chicken stock)

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups loosely packed arugula (or baby spinach or kale)

Salt and pepper to taste


2 pounds mussels

16 littleneck clams


Crusty, toasted sourdough bread


Note: To save time during this recipe, you can clean the mussels and clams during the 20 minutes that the broth is simmering! I just prefer to prep all ingredients up front.

Prepare Ingredients: Wash and scrub the clams. Scrub and debeard the mussels. Discard any mussels and clams that have opened or have cracked. Refrigerate until ready to cook. Cut the bacon into ½” strips. Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Trim and thinly slice the peppers (remove the seeds, if desired). Halve the cherry tomatoes.

Cook the Bacon: Add the bacon to a large, wide pot and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring regularly, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Carefully remove and discard (or save for another use) half the bacon fat in the pot.

Prepare the Spicy Tomato Broth: Return the pot to medium heat and add the minced onion. Cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes until beginning to brown and char. Add the garlic and sliced red peppers and cook another minute or two. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 10-15 minutes until beginning to brown. Stir regularly. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to high and once very bubbly and hot, add the white wine. Scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, taste and season according to your preferences.

Cook the Mussels and Clams: Turn the heat on the broth to medium. Add the mussels and clams (avoid over-crowding the pot; cook in batches if necessary) and cover. Cook for 5 minutes before removing the top. Remove all opened mussels and clams and transfer to a bowl. If any mussels and clams haven’t opened, return the lid back to the pot and cook another 3-4 minutes. Remove all opened mussels and clams and transfer to the bowl. Discard all unopened mussels and clams.

Finish the Spicy Tomato Broth: Add the arugula and all but a pinch of the bacon to the broth over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the arugula has just wilted. Turn off the heat and add the mussels and clams back to the pot.

To Serve: Ladle the mussels and clams between bowls and ladle plenty of the spicy tomato broth with bacon over each dish. Serve with crusty, toasted bread. Enjoy!

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