Jennifer’s Ode to a Clam (Chowder)
April 1, 2012 § 5 Comments
What we have here is a guest post. My first guest – awesome! And it’s from none other than the best chef I know personally—my dear wife, Jennifer. She’s the real cook in the Dainty household. Who needs a recipe? Not her, not really. Today’s topic happens to be one of those recipe-less recipes that she just developed from experience. You eat enough chowder, you’re gonna know how to make it eventually.
So, without further ado, here’s Jennifer’s brilliant rendition of clam chowder.
Ode to a clam. Yes, I said clam. Many of you out there have an aversion to shellfish, which are easy to ruin in unskilled hands. Perish the thought. I know one former Eastern Long Island resident (editor’s note: That would be me) who had such an aversion, until she was able to experience what shellfish cooked well tastes like … manna from heaven. Well, actually the sea—the sweet, briny, bountiful sea.
Inspired by photos posted by dear friends who did some late-winter clamming, I suddenly remembered the quart-sized pouch of clams frozen in our freezer; harvested New Year’s weekend during an unseasonably warm morning outing in the flats of Provincetown Harbor. I had frozen the clams along with the liquor they produced, waiting for the right moment to make a chowder. Not your typical Monday night meal, and it only took moments to whip up!
-I thawed out 4 cups of clam broth and 2 cups of fish fumet
-Diced into 1 inch cubes 3 potatoes
-I cooked the potatoes in the clam liquor along with 2 bay leaves for seasoning. While the potatoes were cooking I sautéed up a mirepoix (fancy way of saying celery, carrot and onion).
-2 medium carrots
-2 celery stalks
-1 large onion
-Once the veggies were mostly soft I added 4 oz. of shitake mushrooms. I had them in the fridge, and thought, why not?!
-When the potatoes were done (15 minutes or so), I used an immersion blender to break down the potatoes, but not completely. I wanted to leave some chunks, but also give the illusion of some cream in the broth, so I let my starch be the cream substitute. To the pot I added my cooked veggies and the quart plus of clams, warmed the mixture through and wished I had some crusty bread to serve along with it.
Man, oh man that was good! Thank you P & J for inspiring me to bust out the bounty harvested a few months ago. Food-inspired memories!
Comments? Questions? Your favorite clam chowdah experience? Leave us a note below!
thanks ellen, that was fun!
that was fun, thanks ellen
Up on Deer Isle in Maine we use whole shucked steamers in our clam chowder, its the way the locals do it, and its so good, we also use whole milk (not cream) , browned bacon and onions, butter, fresh dill , add no flour, the result is a very thin yet super flavorful chowder. Dont have the recipe infront of me so might be a few other ingredients as well…
Whole steamers sounds like a mouthful! And the dill is a great addition, too. We have lots of dill and are always looking for ways to use it. Thanks for the tip, Dan.
Fabulous! I want this next ski season at Xanadu!