I was in the mood for clams this weekend. Perhaps a nod to the final days of summer….the last warm nights under my pergola, candles flickering, fountain gently gurgling, crickets chirping. Ahhh, glorious summer. With clams on my mind, I remembered a wonderful dish that I had had while sitting overlooking the sea on the western coast of Sardinia a few years ago….teeny, tiny clams (‘vongole veraci’) fresh from the sea simply dressed in a fennel broth and sprinkled with pepper. Alongside a basket of crunchy perfectly grilled bread. (My mouth is watering even now as I type this.) Perfect for these last lazy weekends of summer when I prefer to linger over a good cookbook and glass of vino in a comfy chair outside than over a hot stove. Use littleneck clams if you can find them. Don’t forget to give them a good soak in a cold water bath for at least 30 minutes to get the sand and saltiness out. And you can even sip on the wine as you give your clams a good glug for themselves. Be sure to serve with lots of crusty bread for dipping. Enjoy…
Impepata di vongole al finocchietto: Peppered clams with fennel
About 4 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed and soaked in a cold water bath
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced (reserve the fronds)
1 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Equipment: One pot large enough to hold the clams – that’s it.
In a pot large enough to hold the clams, heat the olive oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 mintue. Increase heat to medium and add in the sliced fennel. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the clams and the wine. Cover and steam until they open, about 5 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open. Season with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
Put clams and their juice in a warmed serving bowl (or serve from the pot). Sprinkle with the fennel fronds and extra black pepper. Serve with plenty of crusty bread!
My mouth is watering….yum!
Thanks for the comment, Christina!