Clams with White Beans, Fennel and Broccoli Rabe

Cook, Fall, In Season, Mains, Recipes, Weeknight Dinner

Tender, sweet Manila clams take only minutes to cook. Here, they’re augmented by fresh fennel, saffron and red pepper flakes for a sophisticated dish. Serve with crusty bread brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with black pepper.


Clams with White Beans, Fennel and Broccoli Rabe


1 fennel bulb, a few fronds reserved and minced for garnish

1/2 tsp. fennel seeds

1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1/2 large red onion, finely chopped

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) cannellini beans, drained, juices reserved

1 bottle (8 fl. oz.) clam juice

Large pinch of saffron threads

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 small bunch broccoli rabe or Chinese broccoli, chopped

2 lb. Manila clams, rinsed

Coarse kosher salt, to taste (optional)


Cut the fennel bulb lengthwise into quarters and then slice the quarters crosswise. In a mortar or spice mill, coarsely grind the fennel seeds.


In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the fennel bulb, fennel seeds, onion and red pepper flakes, and sauté until the fennel and onion start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil until it evaporates, about 1 minute. Add the drained beans, clam juice, saffron and a generous amount of black pepper, and simmer to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and simmer until it begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Add the clams. Stir in the reserved juices from the beans if the mixture is dry. Cover and boil until the clams open, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt if needed. Discard any clams that failed to open.


Divide the clam mixture between 2 warmed deep bowls. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with fennel fronds and serve immediately. Serves 2.

One comment about “Clams with White Beans, Fennel and Broccoli Rabe

  1. Deb

    This looks really good and I love clams. Need to figure out the total carb count though since I am a diabetic.


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