Sometimes, an ingredient will pop into my head and for the rest of the day I’m thinking about what to do with said ingredient. It can happen most any time during the day.
This morning, I woke up thinking about clams.
I thought about clams all day long. I thought about fried clams, white clam sauce, red clam sauce, clams with potatoes, clam chowder, Clams Casino, clams steamed open in a savory broth. I felt like that guy in Forrest Gump that could recite every single shrimp recipe.
Driving home, I remember the chorizo in the fridge, not Groom’s homemade version as we finished the latest batch last week, but some from Niman Ranch so the chorizo is not slacking in the taste department. Sweet bell pepper and fennel that needed a home would be fabulous with the clams.
I could have gone to the store and gotten fresh clams, but I haven’t had the best of luck with those. One of these days I’ll grow up and give them another try, but for now, the cans would work fine for the clam sauce that was percolating in my head.
And such a fine clam sauce it is. Totally different from any I’ve had before. Sweet, spicy with a touch of heat from the chorizo.
A bit of this for dinner, a good night’s sleep and I’m ready for the next ingredient.
Linguini with Clams, Fennel and Chorizo
2 links chorizo sausage, remove the casing and crumble as best you can
(or use homemade chorizo and get enough for a scant ¾ cup of cooked sausage)
Couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil
1 fennel bulb, diced (save a nice piece of the fennel fronds)
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 cans clams, drained reserve juice
4 fat cloves of garlic, chopped
1 good sized tsp fennel seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil in cast iron skillet. When hot but not smoking add chorizo and cook til nice and browned and releases the fat. Remove from the skillet.
Add the fennel, onion, red bell pepper and cook about 10 minutes til golden, then add the garlic and cook another ten minutes.
Heat water for pasta and start that process.
Add clam juice to skillet and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add the clams.
When pasta is done, add a ladle of pasta water to skillet and drain the pasta. Add pasta to skillet, combine well and cover and let sit for five minutes. Add the fresh fennel and serve.
Serves 3 generously.