Saffron and Smoked Paprika Lambs and Clams with Roasted Garlic Aioli for BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival Recipe Contest


Several weeks ago I visited the new Union Market in DC with Olga. Although we had just finished the second challenge for the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival for which we had prepared oysters and clams, we decided to go for oysters at Rappahannock Oyster Co. . Then we saw other diners having a dish of “Lambs and Clams” with lamb from Border Springs Farm and Rappahannock Oyster Co. clams, and it looked amazing. Of course, I had to order it. To be honest, I would not have thought that lamb and clams would go together. But the dish was simply amazing. Right then and there, Olga and I decided that we would try to make our own versions of this dish for the last BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival recipe challenge.

“Lambs and Clams” dish at Union Market’s Rappahannock Oyster Co.

lambs and clams

RR Oyster Co.’s Clams and Border Spring Farms Lamb


For this challenge I made a “Lambs and Clams” ragout infused with saffron, flavored with smoked paprika, and topped with a smoky roasted garlic aioli.


Saffron and Smoked Paprika “Lambs and Clams” with Roasted Garlic Aioli


• 2 garlic cloves
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon ancho pepper powder
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (preferably bittersweet)
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 lb ground lamb
• ½ cup sweet vermouth
• 3.5 cups vegetable broth
• ½ cup diced tomatoes
• ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
• Big pinch of saffron
• 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
• 24 clams
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
• Lemon wedges for serving
• Grilled bread slices for serving

Roasted Garlic Aioli
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• 3 roasted garlic cloves
• 1 garlic clove
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• salt for seasoning (if you have smoked sea salt, use it here for an extra smoky flavor)


1. In a large bowl, add the garlic cloves, cayenne pepper, ancho pepper powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, salt, and ground lamb. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the roasted garlic aioli, sprinkle with a bit of salt and refrigerate.
3. In a large skillet, add the seasoned ground lamb and cook over medium heat until fully cooked. Add the vermouth and cook until most of it has evaporated.
4. Add the broth, diced tomatoes, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, and saffron. Cook until liquid has reduced by about half. Add the beans and the clams. Cover with a lid and cook until all clams have opened about 5-10 minutes. Discard any clams that don’t open. Tasted and adjust seasoning if necessary.


5. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve with roasted garlic aioli, lemon wedges, and grilled bread slices.


And if you have any leftovers, you can’t go wrong if you serve them over pasta.

Vote for your favorite recipe here. You must first like the Charleston Wine + Food Festival Facebook Page.


Check out the recipes from the other contestants:
Lynda, Taste Food Blog
Peter, A Cook Blog
Olga, Mango Tomato
David, Eat Drink RI
Gwen, Bunkycooks
Heather, Farmgirl Gourmet
Vivek, Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures

Author: onevanillabean

I have loved cooking and baking since I was 5 years old. It was the one activity that I would share with all my extended family. Like most people, I love traveling. I love visiting the markets, exploring unknown ingredients, and bringing them back home with me for inspiration. I find that recipes with simple and pure ingredients yield the best results.

5 thoughts

  1. Can I just say……YUM! You and Olga have sufficiently made me hungry for a bowl of Lambs & Clams. I love the garlic aioli addition. Beautiful recipe. It’s hard to believe this is our last challenge. 4 months sure flew by!! Best of luck to you!!

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