As I feared might happen, I caught Mike’s cold. It hit me hard on the commute home yesterday, and by the time I got home I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get it together to make dinner. But we had clams, fresh beautiful local littlenecks, and they wouldn’t keep, so when Mike got home we worked on dinner together.
This is my adaptation of a recipe I found on epicurious.com. We both love the combination of pork and clams, and I am always looking for new ways to prepare them together. This recipe was a breeze to put together, used just one pot, and had us both happily slurping up every last bit of the savory broth from our bowls.
Clams with Hot Italian Sausage and Fennel
(adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light via epicurious.com)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
1 tablespoon tomato paste
8 oz. white wine
2 dozen small clams (we used littlenecks, but you can substitute Manilas or other small clams)
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Add the sliced fennel, salt, sausage and fennel seeds and sauté until sausage is brown and fennel is tender, about 10 minutes. Make a hot spot and add the tomato paste, allowing to cook for a couple of minutes before stirring it through. Add the wine and bring to boil. Add the clams and half of the fennel fronds, cover the pot and cook over medium heat until the clams open, about 5-10 minutes. Spoon into deep bowls, discarding any unopened clams, and sprinkle additional fennel fronds on top. Serve with toasted crusty bread to soak up the broth.