1 kg. (2 pounds) littleneck clams
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, chopped into small pieces
1 glass white wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
Zest from 1 lime
Salt & pepper
For serving: melted butter
To clean clams: place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water. While sitting the sand (if any) will come out of the clams and set in the bottom of the bowl. Carefully transfer the clams into another bowl. Cover with water again and let them sit for another 20 minutes.
Remove from the water and rinse.
To cook clams: In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add fennel, onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper. Cook until soft and golden brown. Add wine and let reduce by half. Add sugar and clams and stir /sugar is added here to balance the acidity of the wine, so it’s better if you adjust the amount to taste/. Cover the saucepan with a lit and let clams cook for 2 minutes, then open the lit and stir to coat with the wine sauce and the fennel and onion. Season with basil, thyme, zest, salt and pepper. Cook for another minute or until all clams open.
Before serving pour a little bit of melted butter over the clams. *Discard all clams that had not opened.
Serve with grilled bread.