Purple Clam Parihuela

chowder clams fish local technique main course

This is a loose interpretation of parihuela, a seafood stew from Peru. (Our version takes some cues from cioppino, another coastal Pacific classic.) It's perfect for a cloudy day.

Purple Clam Parihuela

If you are lucky enough to live near Seattle, Tallgrass Bakery makes a hominy bread that is ideal on the side. Serves 4.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium-large yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons aji panca or 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo (sauce only)
1 pint cherry tomatoes (or 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes)
1 bay leaf
6 cups seafood stock (or 3 cups clam juice diluted with an equal amount of water)
3 pounds purple clams, rinsed thoroughly
1 pound cod or halibut, cut in 1-2” pieces
1/2 pound salmon, cut in 1-2” pieces
Cilantro and lime to garnish (optional)


In a stockpot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and onion and saute until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin and aji panca (or chipotle) and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they begin to break down, 5-6 minutes. Add the bay leaf and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the purple clams, cover, and cook until the shells start to open, about 5 minutes. Add the halibut (or cod) and salmon, cover, and simmer just until the fish is cooked through and the clams are fully open, 4-5 minutes more. Garnish with a squeeze of lime and chopped fresh cilantro, if you like.

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