Steamer Clams in Fennel Broth

This shoreline favorite is generally served by the bucketful along with a bowl of melted butter for dipping. Steamer clams tend to be sandy, so rinse them well.

4 pounds steamer clams
2 cups water
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1-1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 Scrub the clams with a brush until no longer muddy then soak in several changes of cold water until the water runs clear.
2 In a large pot, combine the water, lemon zest, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes. Add the clams. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until all the clams have opened. Remove the pan from the heat. Discard any clams that do not open.
3 With a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to individual serving bowls. Strain the broth through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve and divide the broth among 4 small bowls or cups.
4 To eat the steamers, peel the black skin off the protruding siphon (called the “neck”). Hold the clam by the neck and swish it around in the broth to rinse it. Then dip it into the dipping sauce (if using), biting it off at the neck (the neck is edible, but tends to be chewy). Makes 4 servings

Makes servings.
Per serving: 101 calories, 1.3g total fat (0.1g saturated), 46mg cholesterol, 0g dietary fiber, 4g carbohydrate, 17g protein, 76mg sodium.