- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Kosher salt
- 1 fennel bulb, cut into 1/2-inch dice, fronds reserved
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, pureed
- 1 large pinch saffron
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup water
- 4 extra-large (U-10) shrimp head-on unpeeled
- 1 dozen littleneck clams
- 1 cup cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained
- 2 cups escarole leaves, washed and torn into pieces
Coat a large saucepan with extra-virgin olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Add the diced onion, season with salt, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the fennel and crushed red pepper and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat for 1 to 2 more minutes. The veggies should look soft and wilted, be very aromatic, but not have any color. Add the white wine and cook until it has reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes, saffron, lemon zest, bay leaf, and 1 cup of water. Taste for seasoning, and season with salt. It should not taste done but it should taste good. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste again; it should taste really good now. Add some more salt, if needed, (it probably will). Turn off the heat and reserve.
Coat a large skillet with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season the shrimp generously with salt. When the oil is sizzling, add the shrimp and cook them on both sides until they turn pink, about 1 minute on each side. Remove the shrimp from the pan to a plate and reserve.
Remove the oil from the pan and put over medium-high heat. Add the clams and the cooked tomato mixture. Cover and cook until the clams begin to open, about 5 minutes. If the tomato mixture starts to become too thick add some water. Taste to make sure it tastes good and season with some salt, if needed. Add the beans, escarole, and the cooked shrimp. Cover and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the clams and shrimp from the pan to a bowl. Spoon the tomatoes and beans into 2 large bowls. Arrange the shrimp and clams on top. Garnish with the reserved fennel fronds and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Call yourself a super star!