Tuesday, September 14, 2010

hatteras clam chowder

i've never been to hatteras
but i have been to north carolina
and to be honest
i never tried the clam chowder
i actually don't recall it being a big sell
i remember crab being the hot seller
but that isn't my story

i just returned from connecticut
where lobster was the big thing
and it was good
i mean really good

this good
but i will save my restaurant recommendations
for another time

aside from lobster
we found clam chowder
on almost every menu
and the first time hubster ordered it
we were surprised
rather than a thick bowl of cream, potatoes and clams
it was brothy
and delightfully light

and the next time he ordered it 
we found it brothy
but with enough cream to
turn the clear broth opaque

i am hooked
i love it so much more than
traditional new england clam chowder

and after asking around a bit
i discovered it is hatteras style

call it what you want
it is my new favorite
Clam Chowdah 
(printable recipe)
everyone knows it tastes better when you use a proper accent
for clam broth (optional step)
2 cups water
2 lbs clams in shell
this step is optional, i like the way it looks, and the larger clam pieces, but you can skip it without altering the rest of the recipe.  if you do choose to do this, make sure you handle the clams properly. go here for some tips.  steam the clams in the water until they open. throw out any clams that do not open after a reasonable amount of time. reserve the clams and the broth separately.  filter any sand or sediment from the clam broth before using.
for garlic cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 garlic cloves--smashed
5-7 whole peppercorns
place all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for a few minutes. be careful not to let the cream boil or overflow.  turn off heat and let garlic steep until room temperature.  strain the garlic and peppercorns from the cream and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.  once fully chilled, whip to a soft peak. alternately, you can use this cream chilled and not whipped or  even warm. the whipped garlic cream makes a nice presentation..but it is not critical that you serve it this way.
for the chowder
3-4 rashers bacon--chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup onion--finely chopped
1 cup celery--finely chopped
1/2 cup carrots--finely chopped
2 cups new potatoes--cut into 1/2" dice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup dry vermouth
2 cups clam juice
4 cups fish broth
clam broth (if using)
32 oz (4 cups) frozen clams--defrosted and chopped
1/4 cup fresh chives--chopped
additional salt and pepper to taste
in a stock pot, cook the bacon on low heat.  the objective is to render the fat, but not fully crisp the bacon.  add 2 Tbs olive oil to the pan and toss in the onion, celery and carrots.  keep the heat on low and continue to cook just until the onions are soft and begin to turn color.  add potatoes and give it a couple of stirs.  deglaze the pan by adding the vermouth and scraping up the bits that are sticking to the bottom. when the vermouth is almost fully absorbed, add the clam juice, fish broth and clam broth (if using).  Simmer on the stove top until the potatoes and other vegetables are tender. Approximately 10 minutes before serving add the clams in their shells (if using).adjust salt and pepper.  serve chowder in individual bowls and top with a dollop or drizzle of garlic cream.  top with a generous smattering of chopped chive.
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