The fact that I can eat clams will never cease to amaze me.
My entire life, I thought I was allergic to all seafood and I would never dare to touch it even with a ten foot pole.
Growing up in Maryland, the heart of the East Coast seafood world, my seafood allergy felt like torture. It was excruciating watching my family enjoy king crab legs and coconut shrimp and baked salmon while I sat on the side and watched, crying my seafood-less tears. (I might be over dramatizing here…)
But when I got my allergy blood tests done four years ago to determine the cause of my worsening eczema, no one was more surprised than I to find that my body could tolerate two kinds of seafood–clams and scallops! Not only were they seafood, they were shellfish! Even more strange was the fact that close cousins mussels and oysters were both high on the allergy scale, but for some odd reason, by body did not mark clams and scallops as toxic.
I was overjoyed! And although it took me a few months to get up the courage to actually try seafood for the first time, once I did, I was hooked. I loved these delicate, versatile, sweet, buttery mollusks that gave me a safe way to enjoy seafood! And I love that they both cook up so quickly!
Well I have to tell you, although I’ve made and enjoyed clams a number of different ways, this time I’ve truly outdone myself.
This quick clam dish is bursting with flavor. Buttery clams swim in a creamy, fennel-scented, white wine broth that’s studded with garlic, onions, and bacon.
This dish is simultaneously rich and light, elegant and rustic, comfortable and special. It’s ready from start to finish in 30 minutes, and is perfect for a romantic meal or a weeknight dinner.
This rich, flavorful, creamy sauce is delicious bathing thin angel hair or soaked up with a crusty baguette. Try it served with a salad splashed with fruit vinegar!
Whether you’re used to eating clams regularly or you’ve only enjoyed them a few times, you’ve never had them like this! And you’ll never want them any other way.
- 2 ounces bacon or pork belly
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fennel
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 2 pounds clams, washed well
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- crusty bread for serving
- Cut the bacon or pork belly into very thin pieces. Add them to a large skillet over medium low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the fat has rendered out and the bacon or belly is crispy. Turn the heat up to medium.
- Add the chopped onion and fennel to the skillet. Cook until beginning to soften and turn brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and browning, about 1-2 minutes. Season with the sea salt.
- Add the white wine to the skillet and stir carefully to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. When the pan has been deglazed and the white wine is heated through, add the washed clams to the skillet, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cover. Cook the clams until each one has opened. Remove from heat.
- Pour the heavy cream over the opened clams and broth. Cook for 2-3 minutes longer or until the creamy sauce has thickened in the skillet. Divide the clams and broth between two bowls. Serve over pasta or with crusty bread for soaking in the sauce. Enjoy!