Home Sea Fare Warm Welcome

Warm Welcome

by James O. Fraioli
Chowder Image by Tucker Hossler Photography
Photo by Tucker + Hossler Photography

Come in from the cold and cozy up to a soulful seafood chowder flecked with smoky bacon, bright veggies, and more.

By James O. Fraioli / Photo by Tucker + Hossler Photography

Happy New Year! And what a perfect time for a hot bowl of chowder to warm the soul. Chowder, as you may have heard, is to seafood lovers what chili is to meat eaters. We stand by our favorites through thick orthin. This hearty recipe, bound to take the chill off any cold January day, is filled with fresh clams, fish, and scallops;, and the dulse (edible seaweed flakes) add a rich umami taste to the savory broth. When you make a pot of this creamy chowder in your galley or kitchen, you’ll find the texture is not as lumpy as other seafood chowders. This recipe is courtesy of Rich Komen, founder of Cinnabon and Restaurants Unlimited. You can find this, and many other delicious recipes, in our forthcoming cookbook: Five-Star Comfort Food: 90 Inspirational Recipes for the Home. Incidentally, this is my second cookbook collaboration with Rich; the first being Roche: A Culinary Journey through San Juan Island’s Illustrious Harbor.

Seafood Chowder with Leek, Carrot & Parsnip

Serves 6 to 8

1 cup clam juice
36 medium-size steamer clams (like littlenecks), scrubbed and rinsed
2 tablespoons butter, divided
¼ pound thick-cut bacon, diced
2 tablespoons dulse seaweed flakes
2 leeks, tops removed, halved, and cleaned, then sliced into half-moons (about 3 cups)
2 carrots, peeled and halved, then sliced into half-moons (about 1 cup)
2 parsnips, peeled and halved, then sliced into half-moons (about 3 cups)
2 medium-size Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed (about 3-1/2 cups)
1 cup dry white wine
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups heavy cream
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound firm white fish filets (i.e., cod, seabass), cut into fingers
½ pound sea scallops
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, for garnish

In a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 4 cups water and the clam juice. When hot and bubbling, add the clams and cook until they open, 10 to 15 minutes. (Any clams that don’t open after 15 to 20 minutes should be discarded.) Strain the clam broth (about 5 or 6 cups) through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or paper towels and set aside. Remove the clams from their shells and set aside.

Rinse the pot and return to the stove. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the diced bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the bacon has started to brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set aside. Add the dulse flakes and leeks to the fat, and cook; stirring the mix frequently, until soft but not brown, for about 8 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, then stir in the carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and wine. Continue cooking until the wine has evaporated and the vegetables have just started to soften, about 7 minutes. Add enough clam broth (about 5 cups) to cover the potatoes. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Partly cover the pot, and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender (with the potatoes taking the longest), 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the clams into bits about the size of the bacon dice. When the vegetables are tender, add the cream and stir in the chopped clams and reserved bacon. Add black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer (do not boil) and remove and discard the thyme and bay leaves.

If serving immediately, add the fish fingers to the chowder and place the scallops on the surface. Allow the seafood to cook in the heat, 5 to 7 minutes. The chowder is best if it can sit overnight in the refrigerator before adding the fish and scallops. When it’s time to serve, reheat the chowder over a low simmer and add the fish and scallops until cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a garnish of fresh parsley.

You may also like

Leave a Comment