Summer Corn and Clams-in-the-Shell Chowder
Serves: 4 to 6
This recipe is so beautifully different from the classic roux-thickened chowder. The fresh clams, in their shells, are steamed in white wine, butter and garlic and the soup is made from the succulent cooking liquid. Peak-of-the-season sweet corn adds a tender bite, and also helps thicken the soup to a silky consistency. The clams are arranged, still in their shells, in shallow bowls and the soup poured over them. Simple and oh so lovely!
- 4 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked and silks removed Add to list
- 2 pounds small manila clams Add to list
- 1 1/2 cups good-quality dry white wine Add to list
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided Add to list
- 3 cloves garlic, minced Add to list
- 1 shallot, peeled and minced Add to list
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme Add to list
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage Add to list
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary Add to list
- 1 cup heavy cream Add to list
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste Add to list
- Hot sauce, to taste Add to list
- 8 to 10 ounces jarred clam juice (optional) Add to list
- Cubes of toasted bread, toasted baguette slices or croutons Add to list
- Fresh parsley (chopped or sprigs), for garnish Add to list
Cut the kernels from the ears of corn (don’t cut too deeply) and then, with the back of your knife, scrape down the ears to collect all the juice and flesh left on the cob. Place the kernels and all of their juice in a bowl and set aside.
Scrub the clams well. Combine the wine, 2 tablespoons butter and the garlic in a large pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover the pot and cook until the clams pop open, about 5 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open. Pour the clam cooking liquid into a bowl and let it sit until any sediment from the clams settles to the bottom of the bowl. Keep the clams warm and moist in the pot with the lid on.
In a soup pot or wide saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat and sauté the shallots and herbs for 4 to 5 minutes until the shallots are very tender. Carefully pour the cooking liquid from the clams into the pot with the shallots, leaving behind any sand or sediment. Add the corn and cream and simmer gently for about 3 to 4 minutes. The juices from the corn will lightly thicken the soup. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. If you would like a little juicier chowder, add 8 to 10 ounces of clam juice from a jar.
Divide the clams, still in their shells, between 4 to 6 wide soup bowls and add 3 or 4 croutons to each. Spoon the corn chowder over and around the clams. Garnish with fresh parsley.
Recipe by, PCC Chef
Source: Demonstrated on KING 5's "Gardening with Ciscoe" show, which aired on July 7, 2012.