I absolutely love seafood and I am especially weak in the knees when for Clam Chowder. There is something about the thick, creamy, chunky texture that gets me. Add a that to a sourdough bread bowl and I would instantly marry the person serving the delicious soup to me. So here are two recipes I will be trying out as soon as I can get my hands on some seafood.
One 1 1/4-pound cooked lobster, split lengthwise and claws cracked
1/4 pound cleaned small squid, bodies cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
4 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 dozen mussels, scrubbed
1/2 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 pound red snapper or sea bass fillet, skinned and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large egg yolks
4 baguette toasts brushed with olive oil
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the wine with the saffron and let stand to infuse.
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat until just tender, about 15 minutes, then drain. Peel and slice the potatoes 1/3 inch thick.
In a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the potatoes in a single layer and cook over high heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and, using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate; keep warm.
Wipe out the skillet, then heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the lobster with salt and pepper and cook, cut side down, over moderately high heat until the meat is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until the shells start to turn red, about 2 minutes. Transfer the lobster to a large bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and, when it's hot, add the squid. Cook over high heat, stirring once, until the squid is just tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squid to the large bowl.
Add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper to the skillet and cook over high heat until the tomatoes start to soften, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of wine and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Return the lobster to the skillet, cut side up, and add the clams, mussels, shrimp and snapper. Add 1/4 cup of water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat. After 2 minutes, start checking under the lid: As the shrimp and fish turn opaque and the mussels and clams open, transfer them to the large bowl. Discard any shellfish that do not open. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Fill a small saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer over low heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks with the saffron-infused wine over the simmering water until pale yellow, fluffy and hot, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Season the seafood juices with salt and pepper and return all of the seafood to the skillet, stirring to coat with the juices. Arrange the fried potatoes in shallow bowls. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the seafood to the bowls. Pour the juices over the seafood and spoon a dollop of the saffron zabaglione on top. Serve with the toasts.
4 cans (6.5 ounces) chopped clams, drained, reserving juice
2 cups clam juice reserved from cans of chopped clams–add water if needed to bring juice to two cups. (Clam juice is also sold separately in bottles and it is a good idea to keep a bottle on hand in case you need extra juice.)
2 teaspoons seasoning salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cup half and half
1 tablespoon flour
Cook bacon in a 4 quart stockpot over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to drain on paper towels. Reserve two tablespoons of bacon drippings in pot.
Add potatoes, onion, and celery to bacon drippings in stockpot. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring often.
Pour reserved clam juice over vegetables. There should be enough juice to almost cover the vegetables. It’s okay if there are a few vegetables slightly protruding from the juice. If you feel that more liquid is needed, any of the following will be good additions: water, bottled clam juice, chicken stock or chicken broth.
Stir in the fresh thyme leaves and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Taste to correct seasonings.
Mix the half and half with flour until smooth. Pour and stir into soup. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until chowder has thickened. The potatoes will help to thicken the chowder during the stirring process. Add liquid if necessary to bring chowder to desired consistency.
While chowder is thickening, rinse clams in a colander under running water. Clams are often sandy and rinsing helps to dislodge the sand. Add the rinsed clams to the chowder and stir. Cook until clams are just warm. Over-cooking will cause the clams to be tough.
Serve in bread bowls or soup bowls. A side salad and some sour dough bread make a great meal.