VERMOUTH CLAMS by Scarlett Lindeman
Vermouth clams sound good, don’t they? Everyone uses white wine to cook clams and less frequently, Pernod. White wine, fennel and shellfish match naturally. Vermouth is the dark horse: a dry, fortified wine, it’s the odd man out, the stepsister that steals the show. Remember the Alice In Wonderland animated film? Wasn’t there a clam dancing around smoking a cigarette on the beach? This recipe is kind of like that.
1 onion (thinly sliced)
1 bulb fennel (thinly sliced)
4 cloves garlic (smashed)
1 t dried marjoram
1 cup dry vermouth
4 dozen cherrystone or littleneck clams (cleaned and scrubbed)
juice of 1 lemon
In a medium pot, heat a couple of glugs of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic. Season well with salt and pepper; and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened. Add in the marjoram and vermouth and bring to a simmer. Add the clams and cook, covered, shaking the pot from time to time, until the clams open. Discard any unopened clams. Add the parsley, lemon juice, and another glug of olive oil. Taste the liquid and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve with crusty bread.