Saturday, December 29, 2007

Seven Seafoods 2007: Recipe for Fennel Steamed Clams with Italian Sausage (Αχηβάδες με Μάραθο και Ιταλικό Λουκάνικο)

My parents faithfully read my blog.

After I wrote my first post about this year’s Seven Seafoods Feast, my mother found the menu she had saved and annotated from our 1998 Christmas Eve dinner. It was a great time. My sister and I spent the day cooking, and my seafood-loving parents were able to attend. My father e-mailed me the menu today.

1998 Seven Seafoods MenuThe menu shows we ate well in 1998: gravlax, oysters, clams, calamari, shrimp, king crab, and scallops were all part of the meal. Although the food was just as good, this year’s Christmas Eve dinner was no match for 1998, when much of my family was happily together and the food was joyously cooked with my sister. I’ll remember the 1998 meal for the rest of my life.

This year we only made it through four courses. We started slowly with Oysters and Mignonette Sauce. We gorged on Tuna Tartare with Mint, Sesame Oil, and Hot Peppers, and finished off the Spicy Pesto Grilled Shrimp. By the time we started in on the Periwinkles in Dill-Onion Wine Broth, we were whipped.

We couldn’t eat the clams, crab, or scallops.

For Christmas Eve, I’d planned to simply steam the clams with fennel. But for lunch on Christmas Day, when clams were the only thing on the menu, I enhanced the broth with sweet Italian sausage. The result was a rich, warming stew, perfect for a snowy winter day.

Fennel-Steamed Clams with Italian SausageFennel Steamed Clams with Italian Sausage (Αχηβάδες με Μάραθο και Ιταλικό Λουκάνικο)
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer
The Italian sausage is optional. If you leave it out, sauté the onions and fennel in 3 Tbsp. of olive oil.

3 pounds clams
1/4 lb. Italian sausage (optional)
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion, 1/2” dice
1 cup diced fennel bulb, 1/2” dice (1 fennel bulb)
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper or 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. fennel seed, ground
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Wash the clams to remove any sand or dirt; discard any that will not close or have broken shells.

If the sausage is in a casing, remove the casing. Using a pot that has a lid and is large enough to hold all the clams, crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until all the pieces have browned. Add the yellow onion and fennel bulb and sauté them in the sausage fat until the vegetables soften and start to turn golden. Stir in the Aleppo pepper and fennel seed and cook for 1 minute.

Add the clams, white wine, and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients, being careful not to break the clam shells. Bring the wine to a boil, cover, turn the heat down to medium, and cook just until the clams open. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley.

Serve the clams and sausage with the broth and plenty of crusty bread.


desie said...

these are wonderful seafood recipes. will definitely keep them in mind for next time i hit the seafood market.

Peter M said...

Laurie, you've gone seafood bomkers and I love it!

Clams and chorizo sausage also go real well together.

ThreeTastes said...

Mmmm, I've had pork and clams on the brain for about a month now. We usually do a Portuguese style dish in a red sauce. I think our horizons have just been widened! Thanks, again.

Laurie Constantino said...

Maybahay: Mmm - hitting the seafood market: one of my favotite things to do. I never cast my recipe ideas in stone until I get to the market and see what's fresh!

Peter, seafood bonkers, that's me for sure! Yes, I agree, clams and chorizo are a good combo. I'll admit that I had intended this to be chorizo, but didn't have any hand, whereas the itaian sausage was crying to be used. What could I do. Still thinking abou clams and chorizo though!!!

Manju, the red sauce also sounds wonderful - now, how to decide!!