While Summer is definitely one of my favorite times to pack up and get outta town, as the season draws to a close, I find myself craving the comforts of home. Don't get me wrong, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Highlands, North Carolina and the Hamptons, but for some reason, cooking and enjoying wine in my own kitchen, with my husband and doggies just feels supremely satisfying. And while I love the Hubs and pups to pieces, this feeling could also be due to the run of tasty recipes I've been churning out lately - what can I say, I'm on a Summer-inspired culinary roll!
But I can't take all the credit.
Living by the beach is a constant source of culinary inspiration. And during the dog days of Summer when it's not uncommon for temps to remain in the 90's all night long, I've been leaning towards light, lean, seafood-inspired dishes that are perfect for pairing with crisp, refreshing white wines or rosés. This recipe for Clams with Fennel + White Bean Sauce is one mouth watering example!
This one pot meal is not only flavorful and healthy, it also doesn’t require you to crank up the oven or dirty a lot of pots and pans. And I especially love featuring fabulous food and wine combinations that can easily be throw together on a weeknight as well. There's no reason to slave for hours over a hot stove to conjure beautiful flavors. In fact, that's what my collection of Fast + Fabulous recipes is ALL about!
And now it's time for the flavah breakdown! In this recipe, the flavor of the sweet, juicy littleneck clams is accentuated by the bright, citrusy lemon juice and subtle, licorice-y flavor of the fennel. The creamy white beans impart nice texture and body to the dish, creating a sauce that'll luxuriously coat the back of your spoon, not to mention your palate. The lone sprig of rosemary adds a deep, fragrant base note which provides lovely depth of flavor and you simply must, I mean MUST serve this dish with generous slices of toasted, crusty French bread that have been rubbed with a garlic clove while still warm. The fancy name for this garlic-rubbed toast is fettunta but let's just call it DELICIOUS!
To pair with Clams with Fennel + White Bean Sauce, a crisp, refreshing white wine would be best. I especially like Sancerre from France's Loire Valley which is crafted exclusively from the Sauvignon Blanc grape. It’s mineral-driven and citrusy, and imparts brightness to the dish, while also balancing its creaminess.
I really like the Henri Bourgeois Sancerre La Côte des Monts Damnés ($30) with its delicate notes of stone fruit, limestone, pear and citrus followed by a cleansing, mineral-tinged finish. But a Sauvignon Blanc from California or New Zealand would also work nicely as would other crisp, light whites such as Grüner Veltliner from Austria, Vermentino from Italy or a Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend from Bordeaux.
Please see below for the full recipe and I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do. Now, what are your favorite flavors of Summer? I'd really love to know, I'm just nosy that way, so please let me know in the Comments section below.Print Recipe
"CLAMS WITH FENNEL + WHITE BEAN SAUCE"
Author: Stephanie Miskew | The Glamorous Gourmet
Serves: 2-4 servings
Pair this dish with a crisp, refreshing white wine like a Sancerre from France's Loire Valley!
2 15-ounce cans of cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed
1/4 cup of good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium fennel bulb
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/3 cup dry white wine like Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh, flat leaf parsley
36 littleneck clams, scrubbed
6 slices of French bread, toasted + rubbed with a garlic clove
Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
Toss drained and rinsed white beans in a medium bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and season with Kosher salt and pepper. Set aside.
Remove fronds from fennel bulb and set aside. Remove any damage from the outside of the fennel bulb using a vegetable peeler and then cut bulb in half. Thinly slice one half of the fennel bulb and wrap the slices in a damp paper towel to prevent browning. Finely chop the remaining half of the fennel bulb.
Heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add chopped fennel, sliced garlic and rosemary sprig and cook, stirring frequently, until fennel has softened, approx. 5 minutes.
Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove two wide strips of zest from the lemon. Cut the lemon in half and remove the seeds.
Add the clams and lemon zest strips to the pot and squeeze in the juice from one half of the lemon. Cover the pot and give it a good shake back and forth to distribute the clams evenly. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until some of the clams have opened or begun to open. Transfer any open clams to a separate bowl and cover the pot once again and cook until the remaining clams open, approx 7-9 minutes. Then transfer the remainder of cooked clams to the bowl and discard any clams that did not open!
Add reserved, seasoned white beans and white wine to the pot and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to simmer and return the cooked clams to pot along with half of the chopped parsley. Toss gently to combine and cover the pot and reheat clams for approx 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl, add the remaining chopped parsley and sliced fennel and squeeze the remaining lemon half over the mixture. Season fennel herb mixture with Kosher salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and toss to combine.
Serve clams topped with the fennel herb mixture and plenty of toasted French bread rubbed with garlic to sop up the delicious sauce.