Pepper Jelly–Braised Clams with Mint

Michael Gulotta, the chef at MoPho in New Orleans, uses a traditional Southern ingredient—pepper jelly—in a decidedly Asian preparation for braised clams. The result is a deeply fragrant dish that's a fantastic blend of briny, sweet and spicy. He likes draping the hot clams with lardo (seasoned fatback), but bits of crispy bacon are delicious as well. This is best served with crusty bread to soak up the delicious coconut broth. Slideshow:  More Clam Recipes  F&W's Firstleaf Pairing:  2013 Uvaggio Vermentino from Lodi, California 

Pepper Jelly Braised Clams with Mint
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
35 mins


  • 8 slices of bacon (8 ounces)

  • 1/4 cup canola oil

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

  • 1 tablespoon crab paste (see Note)

  • 1 tablespoon Thai chile paste or sambal oelek

  • 4 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk

  • 5 tablespoons hot pepper jelly

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1/4 cup coarsely torn mint leaves, plus small whole leaves for garnish

  • Kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Arrange the bacon slices side by side on a rack set over a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to cool. Break into large pieces.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the garlic, ginger, crab paste and chile paste and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Add the clams and wine, cover and simmer over high heat until all the clams have opened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and 3 tablespoons of the pepper jelly. Simmer for 1 minute, then stir in the lime zest and juice and torn mint and season with salt.

  3. Ladle the clams and broth into bowls. Dollop the remaining 2 tablespoons of pepper jelly over the clams and garnish with mint leaves and the bacon.


Crab paste is available at Pan-Asian markets and from

Suggested Pairing

Off-dry Riesling.

Related Articles