White Corn and Clam Chowder
- SERVINGS: 8
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pure olive oil
- 2 strips of bacon, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1 cup corn kernels (from 2 ears)
- 1 medium leek, white and tender green parts, coarsely chopped
- 1 small celery rib, finely chopped
- 2 parsley sprigs
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups bottled clam juice
- 3/4 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 cup milk
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 cup finely shredded basil
- Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the bacon and cook over moderately low heat until the fat is rendered, about 4 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the wine and boil over moderately high heat until evaporated, about 7 minutes. Add 1 cup of the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover and cook until they begin to open, about 2 minutes; as the clams open, transfer them to a shallow dish. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Remove the clams from their shells and put them in a small bowl. Strain the cream mixture over the clams.
- In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the corn, leek, celery, parsley, thyme and coriander. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of wine and simmer over moderately high heat until evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the clam juice and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree. Strain the puree through a coarse sieve and return it to the large saucepan.
- In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil; boil until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add them to the soup along with the milk and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
- Bring the soup to a gentle simmer over low heat. Stir in the reserved clams in cream until warmed through. Season the soup with salt and pepper and ladle it into warmed bowls. Garnish each soup with a sprinkling of yellow bell pepper and basil and serve right away.
This lovely, elegant chowder with its hint of basil needs the contrast of a concentrated, mouth-filling Chardonnay. Try one from Monterey County.