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Clam chowder (my way), San Francisco & an honeymoon in New England

clam chowderWhen I hear someone say “Oh, the Americans, they don’t know what good food is” my first reaction is to say “Shut up, you idiot!” then I calm down and I think “ok, maybe this poor thing was never lucky enough to eat a clam chowder….” Now, you don’t have to be a genius to guess that my very favourite American dish is… CLAM CHOWDER! I still remember my very first one, at the pier in San Francisco… we arrived there after hundreds of miles and 5 States. Our eyes were full of desert and mountains and endless landscape, while we were driving it seemed impossible that something could border US, but in San Francisco there it was: the sea! That was the limit that also US had to face! And another view filled our eyes, and the sound of a big city after the silence of the desert filled our ears, and the salty scent of the air exploded in our nose. I’m sure that I fell in love with clam chowder exactly in the same moment I fell for San Francisco. Few years later we decided to spent our honeymoon in New England and what was just love became a real addiction. I’m not joking: we traveled New England for 2 weeks and I eat clam chowder and lobster every day for lunch and for dinner (I suppose is not such a big surprise that my scale wanted to died when I came back in Italy!!). I remember waitress asking me: “do you prefer a cup or a bowl” and myself think “oh my god, do I have a cup face?! Why they don’t ask me if I want the entire pot?”. A very special dinner was the one at The Black Cat Tavern in Cape Code: a romantic place is nothing without very good food! Unfortunately I don’t live in the US so I had to learn how to cook a clam chowder (the alternative, meaning don’t eat clam chowder at all, never crossed my mind) and here you find my recipe. It’s quite good and I like it even if it lacks the most important ingredients that makes the original one so good: the view and the smell of the sea! Enjoy!

clam chowder

Ingredients: (serves 4)

– 1 diced carrot

– 1 minced onion

– 1 diced celery

– 50 g diced bacon

– 450 g cubed potatoes

– 150 ml cream

– 3 kg clams + their liquid

– salt & pepper

– 4 scallops

– olive oil

– parsley for decoration

First of all clean the clams: put them to soak for about an hour in a basin full of water and salt, to allow purging of impurities . After this time, drain and rinse them very well, put to heat a large frying pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil, then add the clams  and let them open up a high heat for about ten minutes, with the lid closed (4). When the clams are completely open, filtered water that will be released during cooking and keep it aside, then all the shelled clams and place in a bowl. Now finely chopped celery, onion and carrot, then brown them on low heat in a large saucepan with a little oil, and when the sauce is ready, add the diced bacon. Let it cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, Then add the potatoes and the juice of the clams. Continue cooking over medium heat until the potatoes will be cooked, and then  add the cream. Stir well to mix all the ingredients and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. At this point, turn off the heat and blend everything with a hand blender. Add shelled clams, adjust salt if necessary. In another pan melt a knob of butter and cook the scallops one minute per side. Pour the clam chowder in 4 dishes, put a scallop in the center and decorate with parsley and a little oil. Buon appetito!

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. Yes! Nothing more delicious than a delightful bowl of clam chowders!

    25 October 2013

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