Smoky Clam Chowder
- ACTIVE: 1 HR
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 25 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4
The Good News Nicki Reiss set out to develop this hearty, healthful, tomato-packed clam chowder based on flavors she enjoyed on a trip to Spain. As an alternative to smoky (and fatty) chorizo, Reiss turned to soyrizo (available at melissas.com), her favorite soy-based vegetarian sausage.
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- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 4 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
- One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced crosswise
- 3 tablespoons soyrizo (optional)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add half of the garlic and the lemon juice and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the water and wine and bring to a boil over high heat. Add half of the clams, cover the saucepan and boil until the clams start to open, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the open clams to a heatproof bowl. Cover and continue boiling until all of the clams in the saucepan have opened; discard any clams that do not open. Carefully pour the clam broth into a heatproof bowl, stopping before you reach the grit at the bottom. Remove the clams from their shells and coarsely chop them. Rinse out and dry the saucepan.
- In a food processor, puree the drained tomatoes until smooth.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the saucepan. Stir in the onion, shallot, celery, soyrizo, crushed red pepper and the remaining garlic. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 6 minutes. Add the thyme, reserved clam broth, chopped clams, pureed tomatoes and half of the parsley. Simmer over low heat until the clams are tender, about 25 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs and season the chowder with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over moderately high heat. When the oil is hot, add the paprika and, as soon as it sizzles, scrape the oil into a small bowl.
- Bring the chowder to a boil over moderately high heat and add the remaining clams. Cover and simmer until the clams open, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the open clams to a bowl. When all of the clams have opened, season the chowder with salt and pepper. Ladle the chowder into large, shallow bowls and arrange 6 clams in each bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Drizzle the paprika oil over the chowder and serve.
Just as Reiss modifies Spanish ingredients in her chowder, California's Central Coast winemakers have been experimenting with Spanish grape varieties. A Tempranillo blend makes a great match here.