Saveur Magazine Classic Recipe No.19 – New England Clam Chowder

 

I had high hopes for this recipe.  Being one of my favorite chowders and all.  (Ok, my super-duper favorite is Conch Chowder, but conch is hard to come by here.)  Paolo chose this recipe, he was really excited, loving clams, loving New England.  He also had never tried this and was super intrigued.   Alas, I have to say it was a total disaster.

As I mentioned in my first Saveur Magazine post,  I am going to prepare the recipes exactly as it states in the magazine.  I’ve prepared this dish from another recipe of mine and it has been a complete success.  I have eaten this dish a gazillion times too.  The problem that I found with this recipe, is that it was extremely watery.  A little red flag started waving wildly as I read the recipe calling for 6 cups of water to 2 cups cream.  And no thickener.  And, I would highly advise to place the clams in water to rid them of the sand, because I was straining and straining and straining.  But, anyhoo, I proceeded to recreate it in complete trust and experimental nature.

Needless to say, my two co-judges were not pleased at all.  Another recipe bust, another lunch that we ended up eating mainly bread and the sautéed porcini I had made as a side.  But, tastewise it was delicious.

So, without further ado, the rankings:

Overall points:  4.6/10

Difficulty:  Medium, as it has numerous steps and a wee bit time-consuming

Availability of ingredients:  Easy, if you can’t find fresh clams, frozen will do in a cinch.

10 lb clams in the shell, preferably cherrystone, scrubbed

4 oz. thick-cut bacon, finely chopped

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves

2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped

2 bay leaves

2 1/2 lb. new potatoes, cut into 1/4″ cubes

2 cups heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Oyster crackers and hot sauce for serving

1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over high heat.  Add clams, and cover pan;  cook until clams are steamed open, about 10 minutes (discard any that do not open).  Remove from heat, and let cool.  Remove clam meat from shells, and roughly chop;  set aside.  Pour cooking liquid from pan though a fine strainer into another bowl (you should have about 6 cups; if not, add enough water to make 6 cups); set aside.

2.  Heat bacon in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until its fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes.  Add butter, thyme, onions, and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add reserved cooking liquid and potatoes, and bring to a boil;  reduce heat to medium low, and cook, stirring until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Add chopped clam meat and cream*; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper;  serve with crackers and hot sauce on the side.  Serves 8.

* I suggest you lower the heat to minimum, if not your cream is going to curdle.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Linguine with Clams, Mussels and Cherry Tomatoes

On Saturday night, we had a few friends over for dinner.  One of our friends was here on vacation with her son, and she had mentioned to me that he was really keen on trying seafood from Spain.  So, it was our duty to make this pasta with mussels and clams.  Then our other friend arrived, who is quite a foodie and great cook himself, so we all gathered in the kitchen, and I followed his detailed instructions, because he said he had spent a good deal of time perfecting this dish.  This is the perfect summer pasta dish, easy, delicious and just a little bit spicy!

So, here are his instructions on how to make an amazing Linguine with Cherry tomatoes, clams and mussels!

For 4 people you will need:

1 kg linguine or spaghetti

1kg mussels

1/2 kg clams

4 tbsp olive oil

1/2 kg cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup white wine

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 dried chilli peppers

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tbsp of parsley, chopped

Under cold running water, scrub and de-beard the mussels.  In a large stock pot add one tbsp olive oil and the mussels and clams.  Cover and cook over high heat until they open and release their water, about 5 minutes.

Strain the liquid that they released into a small bowl and set aside.  Discard any mussels or clams that have not opened.  Now, take about 10 mussels and clams out of their shells, and reserve.  Discard those shells, and keep the rest of them in their shells.

To a large sauté pan, add the rest of the olive oil, garlic, chilli pepper and the sea food without their shells.  Saute over medium heat until the garlic is just fragrant.

Now add the wine, and cook until it evaporates, about 5 minutes more.

When the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes, your reserved clam and mussel juice and the salt.  Cook over low heat until you have a thickened sauce, about 8-10 minutes.  Take off heat while you boil the pasta.  Strain one or two minutes before the time that is on the package directions.

When the pasta has been strained, toss it into the sauce that you reserved, cooking it in with the sauce the last few minutes until al dente.

Add the chopped parsley, fresh pepper and serve.

From my kitchen (and Fernando’s) to yours,

Carla