Alentejan-Style Pork and Clams: Part 1

by Janice

Amped Up Red Pepper Paste for the Alentejan-Style Pork and Clams (not pictured)

Tonight, inspiration hit and I decided to make what is considered part one of this delicious dish, David’s version of massa de pimentão (Red Bell Pepper Paste, or as David calls it, “Amped-Up Red Pepper Paste“).The difference in this recipe is that sweet and smoked paprika are used as the “pimentão”, while the original recipe consists of heavily  salt-cured red bell peppers.

I first tasted this lovely Portuguese dish in Fernandes Steak House in Newark, NJ a few years back, and I’ve never forgotten it. In fact, I went out there again in September and it tasted just as good as the last time I had it.

This dish hails from Alentejo, Portugal. This specific recipe that I have chosen comes from my favorite Portuguese foodie blogger, David Leite (


Recipe is an adaptation from David Leite’s book, The New Portuguese Table

2 Tbsp Sweet Paprika

2 Tbsp Sweet Smoked Paprika

1/4 Dry Red Wine

10 Garlic Cloves

2 Laurel Bay Leaves

1 Tbsp Tomato paste

1 1/2 Tbsp Freshly-Squeezed Lemon Juice

7 sprigs of Fresh Cilantro

5 sprigs of Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley

1 1/2 Tbsp Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon of Freshly Ground Black Pepper

A few dashes of hot sauce (store bought is fine)

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1. Dump both paprikas, wine, garlic, bay leaves, tomato paste, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, salt, pepper, hot sauce into food processor and pulse til herbs and garlic are minced.

2. While motor is running stream olive oil and continue spinning until the paste comes together, about 1 min if your food processor is as fast as mine. Mixture will keep for a month in fridge.

After making this, I mixed it in with about 3lbs of cubed pork shoulder and vermouth and letting it marinate for two days. The recipe calls for white wine, but if you don’t have any on hand, like I did, dry vermouth is an excellent substitution.

Stay tuned for part two of this delectable dish!

2 Comments to “Alentejan-Style Pork and Clams: Part 1”

  1. I might have to try this recipe out. Must you use pork and Clams? Or is it a paste that can be used to amp up other dishes as well?

  2. I’ve used this paste on chicken with great success. Paprika and chicken go great together. I’m not sure if the rub would be good on fish– might be overpowering.
    But, if you get the opportunity to try or attempt pork and clams, I suggest you do so. Sooo good!

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