Recipe by chef Michael Serpa, Neptune Oyster, Boston
• 1 quart small Prince Edward Island potatoes, peeled and diced
• 1 1/2 cups celery, finely diced (reserve scraps for stock)
• 1 1/2 cups Spanish onion, finely diced (reserve scraps for stock)
• 1 tablespoon minced thyme
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• 4 ounces unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons ground salt pork
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 quart whole milk
• 2 quarts clam stock (see recipe below)
• 3 cups freshly chopped cherrystone clams (about 36 clams)
• 1 pint heavy cream
• Kosher salt
• 1 bunch chopped flat parsley
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 quart oyster crackers or saltine crackers
Step 1: Place potatoes in a medium-sized pot with 1 tablespoon salt and cold water. Place on high heat and cook potatoes until they are tender but have a small amount of bite left to them. Immediately strain and run under cold water when the potatoes are ready.
Step 2: In a sauté pan sweat celery, onions and thyme with canola oil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Do not allow to brown. When the vegetables are cooked but still retain their color, remove from heat.
Step 3: In a large, heavy-bottomed pot slowly melt butter. When butter is almost melted add ground salt pork. Render out salt pork with butter over low heat. Do not allow to brown. When salt pork is rendered with butter, add flour and whisk together. Whisk the mixture on low heat until it is well-incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add whole milk. Continue to whisk on medium-low heat. Gradually increase heat to medium. Bring mixture to a low simmer. Continue whisking occasionally. The mixture will begin to thicken. Continue to whisk less frequently, but do not allow mixture to stick to bottom of pot and burn.
Step 4: After about 15 minutes of low simmering and whisking, add Clam Stock to mixture. Whisk. Add celery and onion mixture to pot. Whisk. Add cooked potatoes and fresh chopped clams to pot. Stir with a spoon. Add heavy cream to pot and bring to a low simmer. After 10 minutes of low simmering, taste and season the chowder with kosher salt. Turn temperature down, leave in pot and serve. Garnish with a pinch of fresh chopped parsley and a few turns of cracked pepper. Crush oyster crackers into soup and eat. Serves 12.
(To prepare ahead of time, perform all steps up to adding potatoes. Chill and reserve soup. When ready to serve, heat up soup while stirring, then continue by adding potatoes and so on.)
• 10 cherrystone clams
• 2 1/2 quarts water
• Diced celery and onion scraps
In a medium-sized pot, place 10 washed and scrubbed cherrystone clams, 2 1/2 quarts water and reserved celery and onion scraps. Bring to a simmer until clams open. Take off heat and strain. Reserve.