Now reading Clams and Beach Peas with Crema

Clams and Beach Peas with Crema

Portland chef Johnny Leach makes a Homemade Jailhouse Taco Night Spice Mix to jazz up clams, peas, and cream.


Makes 1 serving
  • 1 T Jailhouse Taco Night Spice Mix
  • handful foraged beach peas (or substitute sugar snap peas)
  • + extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 bay clams (littlenecks, butter, purple varnish, and/or other varieties), purged in salt water and scrubbed
  • 1/4 C dry white wine
  • 2 T Mexican crema
  • + cilantro leaves

Jailhouse Taco Night Spice Mix

  • 8 g (2 2/3 t) coriander seeds
  • 15 g (7 1/2 t) four-peppercorn blend
  • 5 g (1 2/3 t) ancho chili powder
  • 12 g (4 t) cumin seeds


  1. Make the Jailhouse Taco Night Spice Mix: Grind everything in a spice grinder. (This will make more than you need, but it’s great as a taco seasoning or meat marinade.)

  2. Slice the peas in half on a slight bias. Get a sauté pan smoking hot over high heat, slick with olive oil, and char the peas. Try to get a good amount of color on both sides without overcooking them. Remove to a plate.

  3. Drop the flame to medium, and give the pan another drizzle of olive oil. Add the sliced shallot and sweat for about 3 minutes.

  4. When the shallot is translucent and softened, add the spice mix and toast, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.

  5. Add the clams to the pan, stir, and douse with white wine. Cover the pan and steam until almost all of the clams have opened, about 3 to 5 minutes.

  6. Return the cooked peas to the pan, add the crema, and toss/stir to coat. Let the crema warm through, then transfer to a serving plate and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.