Monday, December 17, 2012

Seven Fish Dishes #2: Old-Fashioned Clam Chowder

Seven fish dishes on Christmas Italian way to celebrate the season. Yesterday was the appetizer for this holiday meal; you'll want a good, hearty soup to keep your diners occupied while the rest of the dishes cook.

This New England-style clam chowder fits the bill -- it's thick and tasty. A good-sized cup or bowl of this fills up your guests, and lets you serve less of the more expensive seafood dishes.

Try this chowder on a cold winter night, when it's raining or sleeting, accompanied by melted cheese on a hard roll. It's wonderfully filling.

photo from Betty - and another version here
(by the way, this chowder signals its colonial origins by using milk or cream...if it were Manhattan-style, instead of New England-style, it would use tomatoes.) 


1 can minced clams (12-16 oz., depending on your budget)
8 cups milk   (if you're ok about calories, make 2 cups of this cream, instead)
3 chopped potatoes
1 chopped onion
4 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

Dump the clams, along with their juice, in a saucepan, along with half of the milk. (If you made Angels on Horseback, add their broth, as well.) Simmer potatoes and onions in this mixture until tender, about 15 min. Add the rest of the milk, then bring the soup back up to a low simmer. (Overheating can curdle the milk, or form an unappetizing skin on the surface.) Add the butter; salt and pepper to taste; and ladle out when the butter has melted. (Or dish the soup and add a pat of butter to each serving, instead.)

Serves 8 as a first course.  (Some East Coast cooks also add a tablespoon or two of chopped crisp bacon. A handful of oyster crackers is a traditional accompaniment.)

Tomorrow: now we're starting to cook!  Course #3:  Teriyaki Salmon

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