I'm back with a new recipe created just for summer. With temperatures in the 100+ range for the last week, the last thing I want to do is cook. The problem is, I saw a show on Food TV featuring clam chowder and I had to have some. It is entirely too hot for the thick creamy clam chowder we love in the wintertime, so I created a version more suited to sweltering heat. The base of this soup is more of a thin broth, with just a bit of cream added. As an homage to the sweltering Sacramento valley heat, I added fresh local corn. It will be out of season soon, so I am using it every which way I can until it's gone. There is just nothing comparable to local summer corn and it is perfect in this soup. Tip: I added the corn cob to the pot while the potatoes cooked, then scraped every bit of corn off the cob right into the pot.
I used only one pan while cooking the soup, and believe it or not, it was a large non-stick skillet. This is a quick soup, not one that simmers on the stove all afternoon. I used fresh clams as well as canned clams, but you could use all fresh or all canned. Here's the recipe!
- 2 strips bacon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot (sliced)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ¾ lb fingerling potatoes (unpeeled and sliced)
- 1 small stalk celery sliced
- 1 large ear of corn (cut from the cob)
- 2 bottles clam juice (I only use Bar Harbor brand)
- 1 can chopped clam with liquid
- 1 dozen fresh littleneck clams
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Parsley and Oyster crackers for garnish
- Cook bacon in a large nonstick pan until crispy. Remove the bacon and discard the bacon grease. (If you like a lot of bacon flavor in your chowder, use the bacon grease to cook the shallot, garlic and celery and omit the butter and oil.) Add the butter and oil to the pan. Add the shallot, garlic, and celery and cook until the shallots are translucent. Do not let the vegetables brown. Remove the vegetables from the pan into a small bowl and set aside. Pour the clam juice into the pan and add the sliced potatoes. Bring the clam juice to a soft rolling boil and cook the potatoes until fork tender. Don't let them get to the point of falling apart. While the potatoes are cooking, rinse the fresh clams under cold running water to remove any sand. Discard any clams that are already open. Add the fresh clams to the pot with the potatoes and cover with a lid. Continue cooking until the clams have opened, about 3-4 minutes. If any of the clams do not open discard them. Use tongs to remove the cooked clams from the pot. Set aside. Add the corn to the pot and cook for one minute. Add the canned clams plus the juice, and the crumbled bacon. Stir to combine and continue cooking over low heat until heated through. Pour in ¼ cup heavy cream, remove from heat and stir to combine. taste the broth and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the soup into a serving bowl and top with the fresh cooked clams in the shell. Garnish with chopped parsley and oyster crackers.