What a delightful surprise. My husband had a meeting yesterday and returned with a bag of freshly dug clams from the Washington coast and given to him by one of our friends. What a wonderful friend! And before you think but this is a garden blog, I shall offer that the fennel about which I am to speak came from our vegetable garden and those clams, from the garden of the sea. I knew you already thought that.
Let's see, perhaps something different, maybe a little spicy:
Spicy Fresh Clams from Diana's kitchen: Brown a small package of ground hot Italian sausage. Add one chopped sweet red pepper and a sliced fennel bulb, 2 teaspoons of crushed fennel seeds, a little freshly ground pepper, and saute for about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of a white wine (last night we had a Chateau St. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc so that is what was added), simmer for another few minutes, then add 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of clam juice. Heat to near boil, add clams, then steam until they open... about 5 minutes. (Note: we only had one clam not open and that gets thrown away). Outside of the time it took to dig and clean the fennel, the entire preparation took about 20-25 minutes.
A crusty toasted slice of whole grain bread, a crostini, and a glass of the Sauvie Blanc gave a wonderful balance to the heat of the Italian sausage and salty flavor of the clams. My oh my, did we have a wonderful dinner. Simple, quick and delicious! What's not to like?