We spent last week in Vermont in a sea of wildflowers, green hills and lots of berries. I will be writing all about it in the upcoming days as I am still sorting through the hundreds of images I captured.
I will come back with them soon.
In the meantime, I want to tell you about this dish we all shared during our stay.
Since the day we arrived at Nadia’s house on the hill, all of us seemed to have this unexplainable fish craving. We discussed it several times. “We need to stop to get some fish in Manchester from this fish market I keep hearing about” said Nadia. Romina and I quickly nodded.
I wanted to cook for everyone that night and that seemed the perfect excuse.
We arrived at Earth and Sea fish market. The sign announced they were closing in 5 minutes. Our options were limited – but good regardless. We got clams, mussels, King salmon and shrimp.
I thought of the clams I had prepared a few days before at home. Steamed in a light shallot and fennel broth. It seemed like the perfect light dish for a late summer dinner that would satisfy all of us. The version I had made at home used slightly different ingredients, but the method the same.
We headed back to the hill and while Nadia, Jon and Miren tended to the animals, I went into the kitchen – where I always feel most confident.
I steamed the mussels and clams. Separately I sauteed the shallots and fennel. This time, I also added zucchini and peas from Nadia’s growing garden. The shrimp and King salmon went in last as they take a mere minute to cook. A sprinkle of raw green onions, cilantro and mint finished it all.
We all had seconds and even thirds.
1 1/2 pounds (675 g) little neck clams
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
1 medium fennel bulb, diced
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart (1 liter) chicken stock
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch piment d’Espelette
Chives and fresh parley, to garnish
In a medium pot, combine the clams and 1 cup (250 ml) water. Cover and cook over medium high heat until the clams open, about 5 minutes (depending on their size). Remove the clams from the pot and reserve the liquid.
In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and fennel. Cook for 7 minutes until soft and translucent (do not brown). Add the potatoes, chicken stock and reserved clam juice. Bring liquid to a boil, cover pot, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the parsley, salt and pepper and puree it in a blender.
Serve the fennel and shallot cream with the clams and sprinkle a bit of piment d’Espelette on top.