Chowder lovers tend be split over two types: Manhattan or New England, but I like infusing all my recipes with a California twist. This version is based on a standard New England recipe, but almost all the ingredients were sourced from my local farmers market and seafood shop. The briny clam juice, tender clams, and fresh veggies and herbs yield a light, summery take on the classic chowder. Be sure to call your fish store ahead of time and request freshly shucked clams, as they can be difficult to come by, otherwise you can use high-quality frozen shucked clams.
California Clam Chowder:
- Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and 2 tbsp. butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add in 1 diced onion and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until translucent.
- Add in 4 peeled and diced carrots, 4 diced celery stalks, 1 lb. diced fingerling potatoes,* and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the vegetables for another 7-10 minutes, or until soft but not caramelized.
- Form a well in the middle of the veggies and add in 1 stick butter and 1/2 c. flour. Stir well for a minute or until all the flour has been absorbed.
- Pour in 4 c. clam juice and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Check for seasoning again, then add in 2 c. whole milk** and 1 lb. shucked clams.
- Cook for another 5 minutes, or until clams are cooked.
- Divide into bowls and serve.***
Serves six - eight
*Or any yellow, waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold. Cut all the vegetables into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly.
**Do not use low fat or it will water down the soup too much.
***Or keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.