Smooth clams al pil pil

Smooth clams al pil pil

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For 2 people
12 smooth clams
2 cloves of garlic
1 tea spoon sweet paprika
1 small bunch of parsley
2 table spoons of fresh lemon juice
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 small chilli peppers (optional)

The smooth clams are the most iconic shellfish from Málaga. It is nowhere in the world as popular as on the malagan coast and it is mainly in the malagan waters where the smooth clams are harvested. The clams need a non-stop current of water bringing the necessary nourishment for their evolution and they can be found either in a sand bottom of the sea or in small special natural reservoirs created slowly by the debris and pebbles where the clams live semi-buried in the bottom which is where the majority of these animals are found near the malagan coast.  There are specialists on fishing exclusively or mainly the smooth clams as it requires deep knowledge of the terrain and a lot of experience.

The texture is relatively tough and they are not the easiest clams to clean but the flavour is really pure sea.

They are often consumed cleaned raw similarly to oysters – the diehard fans of the smooth clams prohibit any addition to the clear flavour of the clams, be it lemon, salt or pepper.  The more popular way though is the preparation pil pil or a la plancha.




  • First hit the clam with the knife to close down so it stays on one side of the shell.


  • Insert a knife and open the shell. Remove the green small bag and the brown tissue so that only the white, red and lightly orange meat remains. Separate the meat of the clam with a sharp small knife from the shell and clean well under running water both the shell and the meat. Place the meat back into the clam.


  • Chop the garlic, the chilli and the parsley and mix together. Place the clams carefully on a skillet.

    Add the mixture to each clam, add lemon juice, olive oil and paprika. Heat the skillet. When the liquid in the clams starts to boil, wait 3 minutes and serve.