White Wine Braised Clams

11/02/2011 01:20 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

In his series Marcus' Kitchen, chef Marcus Samuelsson shares dozens of recipes that prove "American" cuisine is really a delicious melting pot that draws upon flavors from all over the world.

Marcus begins with Long Island littleneck clams. He says this dish is a riff on more straightforward braised clam preparations. To liven the dish up, he's adding unconventional ingredients like butternut squash, peanuts and spinach. Since the clams only take 8 minutes to cook, he wants to build up flavor in the braising liquid before he adds them.

To start, he sautées thyme, peanuts and pieces of ginger together. Next, he adds chopped onions and garlic. To spice things up, he breaks up a few whole Serrano chiles -- seeds and all -- and adds them to the mix. Chopped butternut squash hits the pan next. Once the flavors have begun to come together, Marcus adds the clams. He places a lid on the pan (no liquid yet) and lets things heat up for about two minutes. Finally, it's time for the clam juice, a generous amount of white wine, lemon juice, and a touch of salt (don't go overboard with the salt, since the clams themselves are salty, he cautions). When the clams begin to open, he adds the fresh spinach and some butter for richness. You can serve the clams and broth over pasta or alongside crusty bread.

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