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Clam Chowder Question

marie-louise's picture

How do you prepare fresh clams for clam chowder?

I'm making Jasper White's Manhattan Clam Chowder tonight (the one recipe I still wanted to try before giving away his 50 Chowders cookbook.)

I bought fresh clams, steamed them, then chopped up everything that came out of the opened clam. THEN I went back to the cookbook, only to see in another clam chowder recipe he talks about peeling the clams / discarding certain parts??? Does anyone do this?

I hate canned clams but I am starting to see the wisdom.

(The soup bases tastes great, BTW, and I haven't added the tomatoes or clams yet.)

Adele's picture

(post #33665, reply #1 of 18)

I make his Manhatten Clam Chowder all the time, but use canned clams -  that way I have enough liquid clam juice too.


If I was going to make it with fresh clams, which I wouldn't because I'd eat them raw, I'd shuck them without cooking.  I'd slice the tummy part open to get rid of any grit, and when you shuck and slice, the muscle that binds the clam to the shell is usually cut off, but if not you'd want to get rid of that too.  (I get Cape May canned clams from the fish store and also tried the canned clams from Costco, which are also good)


If you still haven't added the clams, may I suggest adding any juices to the soup BUT put the already cooked clams in the bottom of the bowls you will serve it in.  The clams will overcook and be tough if you add to the already simmering liquid, as they are cooked already. 


I love that book, made many things out of it throughout the years.


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

marie-louise's picture

(post #33665, reply #2 of 18)

Thanks! Too late, I've already added them (guts & all.) It is doing its one hour marinade off the heat. It tastes pretty good but not as good as some that I have had. We are having crab cakes w/ roasted yellow pepper sauce as a main course, so all will not be lost if the soup is less than perfect.

Happy New Year, it is only 6pm here but close to 2007 for you.

Adele's picture

(post #33665, reply #3 of 18)

Roasted yellow pepper sauce?  I was going to do crab cakes today and ended up making a smoked salmon spread w/red onions.  Saving the crab for next weekend as I now have lots of leftovers from dinner tonight (roast beast). 


Share the roasted yellow pepper sauce?  


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

marie-louise's picture

(post #33665, reply #4 of 18)

Here you go...

Roasted Pepper Sauce

2 medium yellow peppers (or red)
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic
3 tablespoons sour cream
Roast the peppers & peel without rinsing. Combine all ingredients except sour cream in a food processor until pureed.
Fold in the sour cream. Adjust the seasoning & refrigerate until ready to serve.
adapted from The Art of Low–Calorie Cooking (Sally Schneider's 1st book)

PS Soup was great. I think I'm just used to a very different soup that's called Red Clam Chowder out here, more Cioppino-based (wine, more tomatoes, no potatoes.)

Adele's picture

(post #33665, reply #13 of 18)

Thank you, the sauce looks good and again, nice and easy.  It will be on the menu for next weekend.


I am a 'red' chowder lover, though I won't say no to the white.  While white isn't my favourite, I make it every once in a while for something different.


I ended up eating my salmon spread for lunch, used the leftover Crispy Potatoes instead of crackers.  :)


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

schnitzel's picture

(post #33665, reply #5 of 18)

I follow his recipes to the letter. Love his chowders.


What kind of clams did you use? I know geoducks need to be peeled, etc.

How did your chowder turn out?


marie-louise's picture

(post #33665, reply #6 of 18)

I used Manila clams-the only choice at the fish store. They are little clams, about 1 ounce each. I read his book a little closer-I guess the clams that you all would use back east are much bigger than this? They didn't taste gritty at all, so maybe their small size saved me.

I liked the soup, but it wasn't at all what I expected! I realize that what is labeled as Manhatten Clam Chowder on menus out here is quite different. I think it is technically more of a Clam Cioppino-lots more tomatoes, some wine, maybe no potatoes in it. I have a cookbook from an old fish restaurant out here-I think I'll try their version next. Rao's also has a Clam Zuppa that looks more like what I was expecting.

schnitzel's picture

(post #33665, reply #7 of 18)

I like to use large cherrystones, about 6 to 9 ounces each. Otherwise, small quahogs (10 to 12 oz) are quite good.


The Manhattan clam chowder I remember having in San Francisco was a bit thicker, more tomato-y. That was in 1970. ;·)


marie-louise's picture

(post #33665, reply #8 of 18)

You know, this is one of Ashley's pet peeves- dishes being called something they are not. I have no doubt that Jasper White's recipe is an "authentic" Manhattan Clam Chowder. All my life, what I thought was Manhattan Clam Chowder-and what I want a recipe for-was a very different soup! Fascinating...

schnitzel's picture

(post #33665, reply #9 of 18)

And I have a suspicion about Rice-A-Roni being a San Francisco treat. (G)


MadMom's picture

(post #33665, reply #10 of 18)

Don't guess I should admit it, but there was a time when I loved Rice-a-Roni.  Bet it would taste like pure salt right now.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

marie-louise's picture

(post #33665, reply #11 of 18)

Happy New Year, MadMom. This is the real deal (I suppose you could up the salt to a tablespoon for a real San Francisco treat, LOL):

Armenian Rice Pilaf
Serves 4. Most versions of this recipe use chicken stock instead of water. I like the taste of this one because the nutty taste of the browned butter & vermicelli comes through.
1 ½ tablespoons butter, plus more to finish (if desired)
½ cup angel hair pasta/ vermicelli, crushed into 1-inch pieces
1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed & drained
2 cups water (or chicken stock)
½ teaspoon salt (if using water or unsalted stock)
Preheat the oven to 400º.
In a 2 qt. Le Creuset pot, sauté the vermicelli in butter over medium heat, stirring often, until the vermicelli turns golden brown. This takes about 2 to 5 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn, but do keep cooking the vermicelli until it’s golden brown-that’s important to the taste of this recipe.
Add the rice and stir until all the grains are well-coated w/ butter & the rice is translucent, about 2 minutes more.
Stir in the water & bring to a boil, then cover.
Bake the rice in the oven for exactly 17 minutes. The original recipe added “ 2 or 3 pats of butter” at this point, but it will still be good without it. Season to taste with salt & lots of black pepper.
The rice can sit covered in the pan if you are not ready to serve it immediately–it will stay warm for 15 minutes or so. Fluff w/ a fork before serving.
adapted from The Armenian Table

marie-louise's picture

(post #33665, reply #12 of 18)

Re: "The San Francisco Treat", here's the story. It really IS based on Armenian pilaf:

... A neighbor's Armenian style rice pilaf recipe inspired the original idea for RICE-A-RONI®, a mixture of rice and macaroni. Tom's wife Lois served the dish at a family dinner, and it became a favorite of the DeDomenico families. In 1958, Vince mixed a dry chicken soup mix, made at the plant, with rice and vermicelli to create the San Francisco treat which he named RICE-A-RONI. The unique preparation of the dish, and its wonderful flavor and convenience, made the dish one of America's favorite products. The RICE-A-RONI jingle, The San Francisco Treat® slogan, "Saute and Simmer" and scenic San Francisco became familiar to every household in America in the 60's as the product was introduced through television advertising...

http://www.ricearoni.com/RAR_History/foundingfamily.cfm for the whole story.

Marcia's picture

(post #33665, reply #17 of 18)

When we first saw the new product on the market shelves, my mother and I decided to try RICE-A-RONI. It was our first and last try. Disgusting, was what we thought.


Thanks for the history - I've seen Middle Eastern type pilafs using pasta and rice, but it was nice to see the history of the company, and the time frame was right, so my memory wasn't a manufactured one.


Edited 1/2/2007 4:28 pm ET by Marcia

marie-louise's picture

(post #33665, reply #18 of 18)

California has a lot of Armenians-this pilaf (not Rice-A-Roni) was something I ate all the time growing up.

MadMom's picture

(post #33665, reply #14 of 18)

Thanks so much.  I will definitely try this soon.  I will leave out the extra tablespoon of salt, LOL.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

marie-louise's picture

(post #33665, reply #15 of 18)

You could probably get the exact flavor (and saltiness) w/ a bouillion cube; I can remember making rice that way in the 60's.

MadMom's picture

(post #33665, reply #16 of 18)

Oh, I'm sure that the flavor I remember liking would be much too salty for me now.  Just as I can remember having Campbell's soup as a kid, and tried some not too long ago and couldn't believe how salty it was.  I think your recipe sounds great.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!