New England Clam & Grilled Lobstah Chowdah
By Chef Josiah Citrin
Yield: 8 servings
For the Soup:
8 pounds Small quahog or Large Cherrystone clams (scrubbed and rinsed)
½ tablespoons Unsalted butter
6 oz Salt pork (rinsed under cold running water for 10 minutes, dried well, then cut into ¼ inch dice and rinsed again for 5 minutes; pat dry) (can substitute bacon instead)
2 cups Sweet onions (small diced)
1 cup Celery (small diced; tender yellow leaves reserved)
1½ teaspoons Garlic (minced)
6 sprigs Fresh thyme leaves
2 each Fresh bay leaves
3 cups Idaho russet potatoes (diced and cut into ¼ inch dice about 1 ¼ pounds total)
3 cups Clam broth from shucked clams (if you do not have enough substitute with store-bought clam juice)
3 cups Heavy cream (reduce by ½)
¼ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
For the Lobster:
2 each Live Maine Lobster or 16 jumbo shrimp
½ cup Distilled vinegar
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
For the Finish:
6 Unsalted cold butter parts
¼ cup Parsley leaves (minced)
¼ cup Chives or green onions (finely chopped)
- Place the clams in the freezer for two hours, this kills the clams and makes them easier to shuck. Shuck the clams. Reserve as much juice as possible.
- Coarsely chop the clams and save them in a plastic covered container. Reserve the juice in a separate covered plastic container.
- Measure the clam juice. You will need 3 cups of juice. Substitute any shortage with store-bought clam juice.
Tip: This soup is best made a day in advance so the flavors have a chance to mature together. The clams are added at the last minute to give the chowder a fresh briny pop.
- Melt the butter with the salt pork in a non-reactive saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until the salt pork starts to render.
- Add the onions, garlic and celery. Cook them slowly until soft and translucent about five to seven minutes. (Do not let onions brown).
- Add the potatoes, clam juice and bouquet garni (the bay leaves and thyme tied together.) Bring to a simmer; cook gently until the potatoes are just cooked through.
- Add the reduced cream and cook for 1 more minute. Remove the soup from the heat and taste for correct seasoning; adjust if needed. Transfer the soup to a large bowl set over a bowl of ice to stop the cooking and quickly cool the soup.
Tip: To re-heat the soup, bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Be sure to check the seasoning, adjust to taste if necessary. Transfer to a primed thermos. A primed thermos has been previously warmed by hot water.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add distilled vinegar.
- Put the live lobster into the pot and cook for two minutes, then transfer to a large bowl of ice water and let cool.
- Remove the claws and tail from the body. Cut the tail in half, and remove the shells from the claws. Store in a plastic container with a lid in the refrigerator.
- Brush the lobster with extra virgin olive oil. Place on the lobster on the grill flesh side down. Grill for about a minute turn it over and cook for three more minutes on the shell side.
- Remove the meat from the shells and cut into ½ inch pieces. Keep warm.
- Gently heat the clams in a non-reactive pan for a minute. Spoon the heated clams into warm bowls pour the chowder over the clams and mix.
- Sprinkle the lobster, parsley and chives over the chowder. Serve with oyster crackers.