This month, the Fish Friday Foodies, with Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories, is serving up a virtual La Vigilia which is short for La Vigilia di Natale. You can read more about that in my round-up I'm sharing for the event at the end of the week. But this is what I am offering as my fourth (fish in pasta) course. Yes, I am aware that clams are not fish...
But this is a family favorite. Well, it's a favorite with me and Jake. The boys often complain about the wine taste. So, to appease them, I sometimes make 'sober' clams. However, for La Vigilia, we're going with the whole shebang!
- 2 pounds clams, soaked, scrubbed, and dried
- 1 stick of butter, divided in half
- splash of olive oil
- 3 to 4 whole juniper berries, crushed
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced (approximately 1 C)
- 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 red onion, diced (approximately 1 C)
- 1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/8 C water
- 1/8 C Sambuca or other licorice-flavored alcohol
- 1 C organic heavy cream
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 C fresh chopped herbs (I used a mixture of parsley, tarragon, and thyme)
Place 1/2 stick of butter and crushed juniper berries in a large, flat-bottom pan with a lid. Add a splash of olive oil to keep the butter from burning. Heat until the butter is completely melted and foamy.
Add in the fennel, leek, and onion. Cook until the fennel is softened and the onion beginning to caramelize. Deglaze the pan with water. Once the water begins to simmer, pour in the lemon juice and Sambuca and place the clams in a single layer in the pan and add the remaining butter. Cook for one to two minutes, then pour in the cream. Stir to combine, then cover and steam until the clams open. Check them after five minutes. They are cooked and ready when the shells are completely open.
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