Brimming with tender scallops, mussels and clams, this luxurious chowder showcases the bounty of the sea.
- One dozen littleneck clams, well scrubbed
- Two pounds of Maine mussels, well scrubbed and beards removed, if any
- One pound of fresh sea scallops, quartered if large
- Three stalks of celery, diced
- One onion, diced
- One small bulb of fennel, diced
- Three cloves of garlic, minced
- One pound of baby yukon gold potatoes, diced
- Two tablespoons of tomato paste
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Two tablespoons of butter, softened to room temperature
- Two tablespoons of flour
- One cup of dry white wine
- Three cups of seafood stock**
- Two cups of heavy cream
- One tablespoon of freshly sneezed lemon juice
- One tablespoon grated lemon zest
- One tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme.
- Two bay leaves
- Sea salt and cayenne pepper (or freshly ground pepper, if you prefer), to taste
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
** Although homemade stock is preferable, I have had wonderful results with More than Gourmet's Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold.
In a large, heavy bottomed pan, sautée the onion, carrot, celery and fennel in olive oil just until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine and boil rapidly until the alcohol has burned off. Add one cup of stock and return to a boil. Add the clams and mussels and steam until opened. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, quickly remove the shellfish from the pot and transfer to a bowl so as not to lose the juices. Pluck the seafood from their shells (reserving a few to garnish if you desire) coarsely chop, and set aside. Return any excess broth to the pot.
Add remaining two cups of stock, heavy cream, tomato paste, bay leaves and potatoes to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are nearly tender.
In a small bowl, knead the butter and flour together until they form a paste (this is technically called a beurre manie). Add a ladle of the hot broth to the bowl and whisk until well blended. Add the mixture to the pot and stir gently to combine. Simmer another five minutes.
Just before serving, bring chowder to a boil and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Add the seafood and fresh thyme to the pot, reduce the heat and simmer gently for five minutes or until scallops are just cooked through. Discard the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley.