This week’s dish is as obscure as it gets. I always love cooking dishes I’ve never had nor heard of, but the problem with some recipes is that it involves ingredients that aren’t local to me. For malata, the ingredients are basic and of course squash you can get anywhere right now. I know what you’re thinking, squash and clams?? Well, I’m not sure the clams do much for the squash, but the squash really adds a lovely sweet flavor to the clams- they were delicious!
- 4 dozen littleneck clams
- 1 lb of butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel the skin and split the squash lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon)
- 1 cup of peanuts
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 clove of garlic, minced
- 3-inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced
- 4 birds eye chilies, minced
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 4 cups of spinach, rinsed
- 1/2 cup of clam juice
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 1/3 cup of peanut oil
- pinch of kosher salt
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
In a large pan, on medium-high heat the peanut oil and saute the onions, garlic, peanuts and butternut squash. Cover and stir occasionally for 10 minutes or until the squash starts to become more tender. Add the ginger and chilies and stir for a couple more minutes.
Turn the heat up to high and add the clams, clam juice, wine, thyme and salt. Stir to evenly incorporate the clams, cover and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or when all the clams finish opening up (discard any that aren’t open). With tongs, pick out the clams and set aside in a bowl.
Toss in the spinach and incorporate until wilted.
Place the clams back in the pot.
Serve with a wedge of lime and enjoy!
(Recipe adapted from The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa)