This week’s Dinner Tonight blends the best of both fast and flavorful, with a fragrant dish of drunken clams and sausage with a side of crispy grilled garlic toast (because if you're going to mop up drunken clams with toast, why not make that toast perfect?). Buy a nice bottle of white wine on your way home from work (or steal some from the recipe) and cheers to your delightful meal and the warm summer night.
4 dozen littleneck clams
2 sweet Italian sausages (about 10oz)
1 medium yellow onion
4 celery stalks
1/2 of small fennel bulb
6 small garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3/4 cups sweet white wine, such as Muscat
10 large fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
4 slices good country bread
We know you've got a well-stocked pantry and have olive oil, salt, and pepper on hand.
1. Turn on your grill and start with the prep. Clean your clams and scrub off any grit. Remove the sausage from the casing, separating the meat into small pieces. Thinly slice the onion and fennel, chop the celery, and mince 5 of the garlic cloves.
2. Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large saucepan, and cook the onions until soft. When soft, add the garlic, celery, and fennel and cook for another 4 minutes, then add the sausage meat and cook for 5 more, until the meat is nicely browned.
3. Add both wines and bring to a boil. Then add the tarragon.
4. Throw in your clams, cover and cook, shaking the pot from time to time. Cook until the clams open, about 6 minutes.
5. While the clams are cooking make the toast. Brush each slice of bread with olive oil —be generous! — sprinkle lightly with salt, and grill each side until crispy. When done rub one side of each slice with the remaining clove of garlic.
6. Add the heavy cream into the clams once they open, and simmer uncovered for an additional 3 minutes.
7. Stir in the parsley, season with pepper, spoon into bowls with heaping ladles of the broth and bites of sausage, and serve alongside your crusty bread.
8. Sit outside, pour large glasses of wine, and enjoy the evening and your masterpiece.
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