When I spot fresh clams and mussels at the local store I’m quick to snatch them. Clams and mussels are low in fat and low in cholesterol and they are a great source of fish oils like salmon and cod. Frankly, I find them addictive, sort of like potato chips. I cannot resist them. I cook my clams and mussels together with humble white beans, fennel and chorizo. These lovely treasures always turn out deeply satisfying and saucy. The beans are a powerful and a healthy alternative to high fat proteins and contain lots of iron, something women often need; the fennel adds a clean and bright crunch and the chorizo gives an indulgent smoky flavor to this all star-family favorite. I like to gobble down my big bowl with crusty bread. The kids and my husband “order” them on spaghetti. It’s a win-win situation, the adults pretend to be in the sunny riviera, the children throw the empty shells at each others.
prep time: 30 minscook time: 25 minstotal time: 55 mins
•4 tablespoons TSIG Extra Virgin Olive Oil
•3 medium garlic cloves
•1/2 teaspoon hot chile flakes, if desired
•1/2 medium white or yellow onion, finely diced
•1 medium celery stalk, finely diced
•1 teaspoon tomato paste
•1/2 cup diced chorizo or pancetta
•1/2 cup parsley leaves chopped
•1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
•1/2 medium fennel bulb, sliced thin
•1/2 cup diced sundried tomatoes, if desired
•2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
•1/2 cup dry white wine
•3 sprigs thyme
•36 little neck or manila clams scrubbed and rinsed
•36 mussles scrubbed, debearded and rinsed
• fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
•TSIG Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
1.Heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium to low. Add the garlic cloves, the chili peppers flakes, if using then the onion and the celery. Gently cook and soften the onion for 5 to 7 minute without browning.
2.Add the sliced fennel, the chorizo and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook stirring for an extra minute. Add the beans, the sun dried tomatoes if using and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium.
3.Add the sherry vinegar and the white wine, stir for 5 minutes on medium low heat to cook the alcohol out. Add the Thyme and a hand full of the chopped parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4.When ready to serve add the clams and mussel to the beans, squeeze the lemon juice and stir. Then cover with a lid and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover and stir with a wooden spoon and cook until some of the clams and mussels start to open. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
5.Keep cooking and with a slotted spoon transfer the opened clams and mussels to a bowl as they open. It should take 7 to 9 minutes. Discard the unopened ones.
6.Stir the beans on low heat, loosen with water if necessary, taste and season with salt and pepper, add the remaining chopped parsley. Discard the garlic cloves and thyme.
7.Add the reserved clams and mussels to the beans, mix and drizzle extra olive oil. Serve with good bread.
This is a great dish for a crowd. You can prep every thing ahead and cook the clams and mussels at the last minute. I like to serve it with good crusty bread or as a delicious sauce for spaghetti.