This is one of my favorite spring dishes that I have been making for years, very flavorful and easy to make. If you are preparing this on a Friday during Lent, just omit the sausage. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tbsp Butter
1 cup Spanish Onion diced
1 cup Anise (fennel) sliced very thin – use a mandolin if possible
3 – Garlic cloves minced
¾ lb Sweet Sausage meat
1-cup Corrado’s Crushed Tomato
1 – 12oz Bottle Beer
24 – Little Neck Clams
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp -Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 – tbsp Chopped fresh Oregano
2 – Tbsp Chopped Fennel Frawns (the green leaves at the top of the bulb)
In a large skillet over high heat add olive oil. When oil is hot add the sausage meat, crumble into small pieces with your wooden spoon. When sausage in lightly browned add butter and onions. Lower to medium/ high heat. Cook two minutes and then add the fennel. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Let cook two more minutes and then add the garlic. Let this cook until the fennel begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
This will allow the clams to cook in the beer tomato broth. The clams are done when they open. Each clam is different, I like to put a bowl next to the stove and remove the clams as they open.
After all the clams are cooked add the oregano to the broth and taste. Re-season with salt and pepper if needed. Also the sauce should be a broth. If it has thickened too much add a little beer or water.
In a bowl, add the clams, then just pour the broth over the top and garnish with fennel frawns. Serve with some toasted bread to soak up all that delicious broth.