Hanging out at the Dairy

Hanging out at the Dairy
Darci(far left) & the Wrights at the Creamery

Monday, September 5, 2011

Of the sea...

fresh clams from Hood Canal, WA
There are few things our house love, love, loves to eat more than fresh little neck, butter or manila clams! We have a friend who recently texted us to say that he had a bucket of clams for us, fresh from his Hood Canal harvest. Lucky Ulins!!

Our "go to" dish is Steamed Clams. We steam ours in a large stock pot with butter, white wine, garlic and fresh pepper. We try to serve our Steamed Clams with some great bread, this time garlic bread.

I enjoyed a glass of this Washington wine with and in my steamed clams!

my dinner plate
A cup of the steaming broth or nectar is served to dunk your warmed bread in. The addition of warm bread and nectar allows a break from the sweet clam meat and in turn, is crunchy, buttery and rich.

open wide...
My family left the dinner table that night stuffed to the gills, or bi-valves, in these delectable clams and STILL we didn't finish them all. This wasn't a source of sadness, remorse or any feelings of loss for us...we had tomorrow night's dinner to look forward to for more clams. This time it would be fresh Clam Chowder!

this is one of my top 10 cookbooks!
 Jerry Traunfeld, the author and then chef of The Herbarm in Fall City, WA and it's namesake cookbook, offers many classic dishes with a cleaner flavor using herbs. I find the Clam Chowder recipe a lighter version, more herbed, savory broth than a thicker white sauce. During the summer months when you don't necessarily want to be weighed down, this lighter version fits our palate perfectly!

the launching point for my Clam Chowder
My starting point was this recipe from Jerry's well tested and information packed cookbook. As you might have guessed, I prefer to morph and adapt recipes to my preferences and this Clam Chowder.

Fresh chopped garlic ramps

sautéing garlic ramps in butter

chopped celery added to garlic ramps & more butter
In this version of Clam Chowder, I enjoy the balance of depth and bright, rich and clean. Sauteed garlic ramps, celery, herbs and Yukon Gold potatoes provide the base to this dish.

Thyme, oregano, rosemary and Italian flat-leaf parsley from my garden

building the chowder foundation
fresh chopped herbs are added to the green onions, celery, garlic, potatoes and pepper

Sauté until potatoes become browned
This foundation of herbs and veggies are added to the warming stockpot of leftover clams and nectar that has been refrigerated from the previous night's dinner. To this warmed broth we added a box of organic chicken stock and another few cracks of freshly ground pepper.

setting the stage for our Fresh Clam Chowder
The veggies and clams need to warm together but not boil. The goal here is to marry the flavors but not overcook the delicate clams. In my world, this happens on medium heat in a heavy bottomed stock pot in about 10-15 minutes.  I like to keep the shells in the broth for added flavor and visual appeal but my husband didn't share the sentiment. Shells in or out are entirely optional, cranky pants!

About a half cup of heavy cream is added just prior to serving to give a finishing, silky mouth feel to our light and bright chowder. We are now ready for round 2 of Fresh Clams!!  Serve with more crusty, lovely bread, a zip or two of Seracha hot sauce if desired and a crack of freshly ground pepper.

As my favorite Julia Child would say "Bon Appetite!"

Fresh Clam Chowder!
Here's to treating fresh ingredients with honor and simplicity to let their flavors shine through!

Chow for now my friends:)

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