Culinate editor’s note: This chowder is delicious as written, but as you can see in the photo, we’ve also made it with new potatoes, halved and left unpeeled. Also, as a shortcut, you may consider purchasing frozen clams from your fish monger. You’ll need about 1 lb., but more is OK, too; thaw them before you cook, and add them in the final step (as in the original version). It won’t be the same, but it will be very good.
Ridding the clam broth of grit by allowing it to settle in a tall, narrow container and pouring it off carefully to leave the grit behind is easy, but not necessarily foolproof. If you don’t want to take any chances, strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer lined with damp cheesecloth.
Because both the salt pork and clams are salty to begin with, tread lightly with extra salt to season the chowder. Some might consider the lemon to be unorthodox, or even misplaced, but I think it gives the clams an exclamation point! Likewise, the chives would probably be considered fancy at most clam shacks, but I like the light onion essence they bring, not to mention the green, which this stew can use.
This is adapted from Jasper White’s 50 Chowders. Serve oyster crackers or common crackers alongside.
|8||lb. littleneck, top neck, cherrystone, or small quahog clams, rinsed, scrubbed if necessary|
|4||oz. lean salt pork or blanched thick-cut bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces|
|2||medium onions, chopped|
|2||celery ribs, chopped|
|1||Tbsp. minced fresh thyme|
|2||cups bottled clam juice|
|2½||lb. Yukon gold or all-purpose potatoes (5 medium-large), peeled and cut into ¾-inch chunks|
|1½||Tbsp. lemon juice|
|3||Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley|
|3||Tbsp. snipped fresh chives|
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