Updated 11/30/2012 05:00 AM
Recipe: Steamed Clams with Italian Sausage, Fennel and Onions
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2 dozen Littleneck clams
2 links mild Italian sausage, thinly sliced
olive oil for sauteing sausage and veggies
1 small onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 large bulb fennel (see procedure below)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
pinch red pepper flakes
Scrub the clams really well under cold water.
Add 2 thinly sliced links of Italian sausage to a large heavy bottomed pan and brown those up in a little olive oil.
Cook the sausage on medium heat and also you'll need to thinly slice one clove of garlic, thinly chop one small onion, rough chop a handful of parsley and also cut the top off of the bulb of fennel and cut it in half from top to bottom, then cut one half in half again and thinly slice that crosswise.
Once the sausage has browned up, add the sliced onion, sliced fennel and sliced garlic and cook that along to soften up and caramelize a bit.
Once you're happy with that, add about 1/2 cup dry white wine and 1/2 cup heavy cream, add the clams, turn the heat to high and put a lid on top.
Depending on the hardiness of the clams they can take 5 minutes or more to steam open so stay with them and, once they have steamed open, add the fresh parsley and a pinch of red pepper flakes and they're good to go.
Serve with toasted country bread for soaking up the broth.