This recipe from NYT Cooking is a savoury combination of steamed clams, tomatoes and pearl couscous. Make a sauce with shallots, garlic, chile and tomatoes. Add wine and the clams and steam until the clams are cooked. Set the clams aside and add the couscous to the sauce. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the couscous is tender. Pour the sauce over the clams and serve. Cook’s note: On the advice of the person at the fish counter, I soaked the clams in cold water and a tablespoon of cornmeal instead of salt. I did not use parsley. I found this dish to be quite salty, so taste as you season.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives:

I used a wine from Frogpond Farm that contains a sulphite level below 10 parts per million. Ace Bakery’s crusty white bread is additive-free.

Cook shallots, garlic and chile

Steam clams and set aside

Add couscous to the sauce

Return clams to sauce and serve


3 pounds (1.36 kg) clams

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 large shallots, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 small red chile (such as a red jalapeño), seeded and minced (about 1 tablespoon/15 ml)

3 cups (750 ml) cherry tomatoes

½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine

½ cup (125 ml) pearl couscous or fregola

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley

Crusty bread, for serving


Place the clams in a large bowl along with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) salt and fill the bowl with cold water. Set aside to let the clams release any grit.

While the clams soak, prepare the sauce: In a large Dutch oven (or a deep 12-inch/30-cm skillet with a lid), heat the olive oil over medium. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chile and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the cherry tomatoes, ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to collapse, 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the wine and bring to a boil.

While the wine comes to a simmer, lift the clams from the water and rinse well under running water, scrubbing if necessary.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the clams to the pot, evenly nestling them into the sauce. Cover and cook until the clams open, 8 to 12 minutes, checking every few minutes and removing clams and placing them in a large serving bowl as they open. (This will prevent the clams from overcooking.) Discard any clams that do not open.

Bring the liquid in the pot back to a boil over medium-high heat and add the couscous. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the couscous is tender and the liquid in the pan has reduced, 10 to 15 minutes.

Off the heat, season the couscous mixture with salt and pepper to taste then carefully pour it over the clams. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately, with crusty bread on the side. Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking