Manhattan Clam Chowder

Plump, briny cherrystone clams from the cold waters of the Northern Atlantic, in a spicy, clear broth of clam juice, crushed tomatoes, sauteed celery, onions and garlic, red pepper flakes, bacon, parsley, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper.  A true classic..

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder (adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart)

3 cups filtered water
2 dozen cherrystone clams, scrubbed (about 2 cups clam meat)
5 slices non-smoked, thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 jar (28 ounces) whole organic plum tomatoes, strained, juices reserved, tomatoes finely chopped
1 Kennebec or Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh celery leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring water to a boil in a large pot.  Add clams, cover, and cook until shells open, about 10 minutes.  Transfer clams to a large bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Discard any clams that do not open.  Remove meat from shells, and return to bowl.  Discard shells.  Pour reserved liquid through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth into a large bowl (you should have 2 1/2 cups).  Sprinkle a few tablespoons liquid over clams to keep them moist.

Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Add bacon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7 minutes.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.  Pour off excess drippings, leaving just enough to coat bottom of pot.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, and reduce heat to medium.  Add onion, celery, garlic, and red-pepper flakes, and cook, scraping bottom of pot, until vegetables are light gold, about 7 minutes.

Raise heat to high, and stir in tomatoes, 1 cup reserved tomato juice, 2 1/2 cups reserved clam broth, and the potato.  Reduce heat, and simmer until potato is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Cut large clams in half.  Stir clams, bacon, parsley, and oregano into broth, and heat until warmed through, about 30 seconds.  Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Manhattan clam chowder has clear broth, plus tomato for red color and flavor.  In the 1890s, this chowder was called “New York clam chowder” and “Fulton Fish Market clam chowder.”  Clam chowder, in its cream-based New England version, has been around since the mid-18th century.  Many restaurants in northern Rhode Island sell both red and white chowders, while the southern coast favors clear and white chowders.

The addition of tomatoes in place of milk was initially the work of Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island, as tomato-based stews were already a traditional part of Portuguese cuisine.  Scornful New Englanders called this modified version “Manhattan-style” clam chowder. –Wikipedia

9 thoughts on “Manhattan Clam Chowder

  1. I just recently discovered your mouthwatering blog! Can’t believe how good your food looks. Can only imagine how it tastes! Thank you for sharing.

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