Recipe makes 4 portions
8 ounces Cannellini Beans or other type of white bean
1 Tb. Kosher Salt
Soak beans for 36 to 48 hours in enough water to cover them by ½ inch. Change the soaking water 2 or 3 times during the soaking period; be sure to rinse the beans well after draining them and before adding the new soaking water. Once the soaking period is completed move the beans to a large cooking pot and add enough fresh water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Cover the pot and bring water to a simmer; reduce the heat to a low setting and cook beans undisturbed for 15 minutes. Stir 1 tablespoon of kosher salt into the cooking water, recover the pot and continue to simmer the beans until they are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes longer. Once the beans are tender drain the beans through a mesh strainer to discard the cooking liquid. Reserve the beans.
For the beans:
2 cups Cooked Cannellini Beans from the above cooking instruction OR from a can
If the beans are from a can be sure to drain and rinse the beans very well before adding them to the recipe.
2 Tb. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tb. Grapeseed Oil
6 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
6 Celery Ribs, thinly sliced
¼ cup White Wine
2 tsp. Dried Basil
2 tsp. Dried Oregano
1 tsp. Dried Thyme
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 oz. grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese, optional to serve on top
Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat; add the olive oil and grapeseed oil to the pan and stir together to blend the oils. When the oil is hot add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is lightly golden, about 1 minute. The garlic will cook very quickly so be careful not to burn it. As soon as the garlic turns a golden color add all of the celery to the pan, this will stop the browning of the garlic due to the added liquid content of the celery. Add the cooked cannellini beans (or other white bean variety), wine, dried herbs and salt to the pan. Cover the sauté pan and reduce the heat to low. Allow the celery, beans and herbs to simmer slowly for 4 to 6 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste the mixture and add a little sea salt for final seasoning if needed. Stir in the black pepper. Spoon the bean and celery mixture into shallow serving bowls. Top with the clams when they are cooked as directed below. Sprinkle the grated cheese over each portion of clams if you wish to serve cheese with your shellfish.
For the clams:
4 dozen Middleneck or Littleneck Clams, scrubbed and rinsed well
1 cup Filter Water
Heat a stockpot over medium high heat. Pour the water into the pot and add the clams. Cover the pot to steam the clams for 4 minutes. Uncover the pot and remove any clams that have opened, place them onto the serving dishes filled with the cooked beans and celery. Recover the pot and continue to steam the clams removing the opened ones as you check every minute or so. Any clams that have not opened after a full 10 minutes of steaming should be discarded. Once all of the clams are removed from the pot, very carefully pour the accumulated liquid into a measuring cup leaving as much grit and solids as possible in the bottom of the stock pot. This cooking liquid has a lot of wonderful flavor from the clams; pour this liquid over each serving plate of clams and beans.
**Fresh Herbs can be substituted for the dried herbs called for in the recipe. If using fresh herbs double the quantity from the amount called for in the dried version and add those fresh chopped herbs JUST before serving the finished dish; do not add the fresh herbs while simmering the celery as the above recipe calls for with the dried herbs.