Simple, yet elegant Steamer Clams gently steamed in white wine and fennel with bacon a shallot. A Pacific Northwest favorite served over grilled toast.
Steamer clams are one of those things that just make you feel romantic. They’re elegant, yet rustic and one of the simplest meals to make at home. A little white wine, some fresh herbs and a salty addition of bacon make for the perfect bowl of steamer clams. Tonight we’re using fennel. I love fennel paired with seafood. It has a slight licorice flavor similar to tarragon. It grows in abundance in the garden with very little attention. It has similar characteristics to many other herbs, such as help with inflammation, heart and cancer, but it also helps with bone health. Coolness, all from an herb.
I always keep a bottle of Pinot Grigio on hand, as it is mild, a little fruity and pairs wonderfully with seafood. It also makes a REALLY GOOD wine spritzer! But tonight we’re using it to steam the clams. It’s pretty simple a little shallot and some crispy bacon…15 minutes later VIOLA. It’s done. I like to serve with grilled rustic bread that’s been rubbed in garlic and butter. The extra crispy edges soak up all the flavorful broth and well, you just can’t beat that. If you want to make it a dinner, serve with buttered noodles and parmesan and maybe a nice salad on the side.
- Steamer Clams – Littleneck or Manilla clams, small, tender and perfect for steaming.
- Shallot – Like a mix between onion and garlic.
- White Wine – Pinot Grigio work well here, light and mild in flavor.
- Bacon – Go for the thick cut bacon, it stands out better.
- Garlic – Fresh chopped.
- Fennel – Herb fronds, not the bulb.
- Lemon – Always a must for seafood.
- French Bread – Rustic, crunchy on outside, soft, yet a little firm on inside.
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Steamer Clams with Bacon & Fennel
- 2 lb fresh steamer clams littleneck or manila clams, scrubbed clean
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 shallot minced
- 1 cup white wine such as pinot grigio (mild white wine)
- 6 slices bacon cut in lardons
- 1/2 shallot sliced
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1-2 tbsp fresh fennel off the stem
- 2 lemons sliced for squeezing
- 4 slices rustic french bread cut in 1 inch thick slices
- 1 clove garlic
- 1-2 tbsp butter
- Cook bacon lardons in a large pan over medium heat, rendering the fat (cook slow enough to cook the fat out and not burn the bacon). Remove bacon to a paper towel. Add garlic and sliced shallot to the pan and cook in the bacon grease until just softened, about 1 minute. Remove to a bowl and combine with bacon.
- Increase the heat to medium high. Add olive oil to the pan. Add minced shallot and clams. Cook clams, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Add wine and about 1 tbsp of fresh fennel. Cover and cook until clams are opened. Remove from heat. Add the reserved bacon-shallot mixture. Serve over grilled toast with lemons on the side.
- Butter each slice of toast. Rub garlic over each slice of toast. Grill until golden and crispy.