Thursday, January 21, 2010

Clam and Smoked Salmon Chowder

Day 15: This is what you get for working out

The last time I made chowder (corn chowder) I was very impressed/alarmed. The recipe literally started with cooking bacon in butter, and ended with adding cream and cheese. Needless to say I have severely limited my consumption of anything attached to the label of "chowder" ever since. That said, I knew I needed to pay homage to this classic soup at some point in my 31 days so I waited till I felt like Jay and I fully deserved this decadence. Last night we participated in our first boxing fitness class at a local boxing gym frequented by our (apparently very in shape) friend. It pretty much kicked our butts, but on the plus side it opened up a window of gluttony on the weekly soup sched. We don't live in the Northeast anymore though both of us have payed our dues there, so I wanted to try something that pays homage to both maritime traditions. I found my answer in a lovely cookbook that encourages locovorism here in the Northwest, The Farm to the Table Cookbook. I altered the recipe slightly, omitting the bacon, increasing the smoked salmon, and replacing parsley with scallions; but on the whole the recipe and instructions remained largely the same. I have to say this has been one of my favorites. As it turns out animal fat tastes good. I mean really good. Thank god I worked my butt off (literally) to deserve it...

Clam and Smoked Salmon Chowder

25 manila clams, in shell
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups good quality broth
3 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
4 scallions, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
4 tbsp flour
2 cups half and half
2 dried bay leaves
2 tsp dried sage
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced (about 3 cups)
5 oz smoked keta salmon, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco (optional)

Rinse clams thoroughly in cold water. In a soup pot heat white wine to a boil. Place clams in the boiling wine and cover. Cook until the clams have fully opened and remove. Set aside to cool. Let the wine and clam juice boil a few minutes more and add broth. Boil for 4-5 minutes more and then pass through a fine stainer two or three times until free of sand. Set aside. Remove clam meat from shells and chop. Set aside with chopped salmon. In a clean pot melt butter on medium heat and cook onions, celery, and the whites of the green onions until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add flour and stir thoroughly. Whisk in half and half and then the reserved clam stock and bring to a slow simmer, whisking constantly. Add sage, bay leaf, and potatoes and simmer, stirring often until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Once potatoes are cooked add the clams and salmon. Cook 1 or 2 minutes more and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a garnish of the scallion greens and a dash of hot sauce if desired (I prefer it without).

Jay's review:

5.0 yums (out of 5)! Beats Boston!