Cherry stone clam chowder with bacon chorizo crumbs, fingerling potatoes, and crispy clam fritters recipe

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  • Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

For the Bacon Chorizo Crumbs
  • 6 bacon slices, preferably applewood-smoked, minced
  • 3 ounces chorizo, Spanish-style dry-cured, minced
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) water
  • 2 ounces toasted brioche or challah bread crumbs, from about 4 small ½-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
For the Potatoes
  • 10 ounces fingerling potatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) olive oil
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) water
  • Small sprig of fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
For the Clam Chowder
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) rendered bacon fat or lard
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Large sprig of fresh thyme (wrapped with kitchen twine, like a bouquet garni)
  • 12 cherry stone clams, preferably, or little neck clams
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) dry white wine, preferably unoaked or lightly oaked
  • 5 cups (1 quart plus 1 cup) Light Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) bottled clam juice
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
How to Make It
    To Prepare the Bacon Chorizo Crumbs
  1. Combine the bacon, chorizo, and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the water has evaporated and the bacon and chorizo are crisp, about 10 minutes.
  2. Scrape the mixture into a food processor, add the rest of the ingredients, and pulse to combine. Reserve at room temperature.
  3. To Prepare the Fingerling Potatoes
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place all the ingredients in a small roasting pan and cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes, then uncover and continue baking a few more minutes, until the water has evaporated and the potatoes are tender. Let rest at room temperature.
  5. To Prepare the Chowder
  6. Warm the bacon fat in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme, and sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the clams and continue to sauté until the clams open, 3–5 minutes more. Pour in the wine and simmer until almost dry. Pour in the stock, clam juice, and cream, and reduce the liquid by about half. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Pluck out the clams from the sieve, and pop the clam meat out of them with a small knife or fork. Chop the clam meat and reserve it for the clam fritters. Keep the chowder warm on low heat.
  9. To Prepare the Clam Fritters
  10. Combine all the clam meat with the other fritter ingredients except the oil and xanthan gum. Mix only until lightly blended. The mixture can be refrigerated an hour before you make and fry the fritters.
  11. Warm the oil in a medium saucepan to 325°F to 330°F. Spoon out the batter by teaspoons, and drop gently into the oil, a half dozen or so at a time, and cook 1–2 minutes until golden brown. Stir to prevent them from sticking to each other.
  12. Scoop out the fritters with a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  13. Putting it all together
  14. Arrange 4 soup plates or broad soup bowls on a work surface. Make a pretty pattern of garnishes in each bowl. In the center of each, mound a large spoonful of bacon-chorizo crumbs, a thin line of potatoes, and 3 or so fritters per person. Scatter leaves or herbs in each bowl. Reheat the chowder briefly, if needed, then add the xanthan gum, if using, and froth the chowder with an immersion blender. Pour the soup into a pitcher.
  15. Set a bowl in front of each diner. Pour equal portions of the soup into each bowl, pooling it around the garnishes until most are submerged. Eat right away.
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