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Shellfish with Fennel, Escarole, and Kale

By Michelle Bernstein Fine Cooking Issue 108 From Moveable Feast Season 6, Ep.108

Servings: 4

Your Christmas Eve meal should be festive, but not so labor-intensive you spend all your time in the kitchen instead of visiting with family and friends. This simple but indulgent mixed shellfish dish from Michelle Bernstein of Michy’s, in Miami, is great on its own with a crusty bread to sop up the sauce, or as part of an authentic Italian holiday feast.


  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 12 grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced escarole leaves
  • 1 Tbs. amontillado sherry
  • 1 cup fish broth or bottled clam juice
  • 16 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 16 mussels, debearded and scrubbed
  • 6-1/2 oz. (1 cup) medium shrimp (41 to 50 per lb.; preferably wild), peeled and deveined, with tails left intact
  • 1 cup thinly sliced kale leaves
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley; more for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • Finely grated zest of half a lemon (2 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 290
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 140
  • Fat (g): 16
  • Saturated Fat (g): 5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Cholesterol (mg): 125
  • Sodium (mg): 800
  • Carbohydrates (g): 10
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 27


  • In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it turns golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start to blister, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fennel and garlic. Cook, shaking the pan, until the garlic becomes golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the escarole and stir for 1 minute. Add the sherry, raise the heat to high, and cook until it evaporates, about 30 seconds. Add the fish broth and boil until it reduces slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the clams, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mussels, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp, cover, and cook for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the open shellfish and shrimp to a large bowl and cover loosely with foil. Toss any that do not open.Stir the kale and pepper flakes into the broth and cook until the kale wilts, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the parsley and rosemary. Pour in the browned butter. Add the lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Distribute the broth, vegetables, and seafood among 4 wide, deep bowls. Garnish with parsley.

For an authentic Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes, start with two fried seafood hors d’oeuvres: salt-cod fritters and calamari rings before the mixed shellfish dish. Then for the main course, serve red snapper in a spicy puttanesca sauce paired with sautéed broccoli raab and a simple spaghetti with pecorino and garlic. A rich cannoli-inspired cheesecake, flecked with orange zest and chocolate chips, finishes the meal.


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