Clams are an ideal food for the modern Paleo chef. They’re delicious, super easy to prepare, and packed with nutrition. A modest 100-gram portion (weight before cooking, without shells) provides over eight times the USDA’s dietary reference intakes (DRI) for daily consumption.1 This same portion also provides 78% of your daily iron requirements, substantial amounts of selenium, manganese, and vitamin C, and 13g of protein. That’s pretty incredible when you consider that clams are over 80% water.
Our garlicky saffron clams leave you with an incredibly flavorful broth, which you can either drink or make into a soup. While this recipe can be prepared sans saffron, if you decide to spice the dish with it, be sure to not drain the broth down the disposal. Saffron is a prized spice not only because it is handpicked, but also each flower yields only three stigmas. To put it in perspective, saffron takes over an acre of land and hundreds of thousands of flowers to produce just one pound of saffron.2
Saffron has been revered since time immemorial for its healing properties. Modern science has confirmed that saffron extracts have chemo-preventive properties against cancer.3 But if you don’t have saffron on hand or prefer to spend your money elsewhere, not to worry! Just follow the directions below, omit the saffron and still enjoy a fabulously healthy, delicious clam dish.
- 2 lbs clams
- 1 tomato
- 1 pinch saffron (optional)
- 1 bundle fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 small bundle fresh thyme, stems removed
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Freshly milled black pepper
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Christopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.
1. Nutrition Data. Retrieved September 4, 2014 from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4180/2
2. CNN. (July 23, 2008). The world’s priciest foods. Retrieved September 4, 2014 from http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/fsb/0807/gallery.most_expensive_foods.fsb/4.html
3. Abdullaev, FI. (January 2002). Cancer chemopreventive and tumoricidal properties of saffron (Crocus sativus L.). Experimental Biology and Medicine, 227(1). Retrieved September 4, 2014 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11788779