Tomorrow's the first day of Summer!!
My favorite summer-time memories revolve around family: picnics at the beach, backyard BBQ's followed by after-dinner croquet, bike rides, tennis, walks to the Sunday evening band-concert in the park...
Right up there at the top of that list are fond memories of my mom's summer clam-bakes. With all the gorgeous, sunny days of late, I've been craving those delicious, briny shellfish.
Summer Tomato Bouillabaisse with Basil Rouille is my homage to Mommy's clam-bakes. It's a quick dish that gets fabulous complexity of flavor from the clams and mussels while the Rouille, a garlicky Provencal style mayonnaise, provides a fresh punch.
The perfect dish to celebrate summer!
- 5 garlic cloves, divided
- 1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup best quality mayonnaise
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 or 3 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 small fennel bulb, cleaned, halved, thinly sliced
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1, 8 ounce bottle clam juice
- 3 pounds mixed shellfish (such as mussels & littleneck clams) scrubbed
- 1 or 2 pats unsalted, organic butter
- fleur de sel (or use sea salt)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- crusty bread, sliced (to serve alongside)
Chop 2 garlic cloves and transfer to a blender along with basil, mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons oil, anchovies and lemon juice. Purée until smooth. Transfer basil rouille to a small serving dish, cover and chill.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add fennel and tomatoes, season with salt & pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes burst (about 10 min).
Slice remaining 3 garlic cloves and add to pot. Cook, stirring often, until garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in wine and cook, stirring often, until almost absorbed, about 1 minute. Add clam juice and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Add shellfish and cook, covered, until opened (discard any that do not open), about 4 minutes. (Clams may take a few minutes longer than the mussels.)
Add 1 or 2 pats of butter and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. Stir in parsley. Spread basil rouille on warm crusty bread and serve alongside. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Summer Tomato Bouillabaisse, BonAppetit, July 2011