Chowder comes from the French word "chaudiere," meaning "large copper pot." In Brittany, fishermen would combine their fish in one of these pots, add spices, and share the resulting soup. This custom traveled with the Bretons to Newfoundland and then down to New England.

Chowder is comfort by the kettle



 Susan Russo's New England Style White Clam Chowder.
Susan Russo
You probably didn’t learn about clam chowder in school. That’s OK. It’s best learned through experience, preferably at a New England seaside shack on a late August afternoon. There’s more to know than you’d expect when it comes to chowder.
As a native New Englander, I thought I knew it all. Until I got my first lesson in reds. My uncle took my cousins and me to the beach and treated us to clam cakes and chowder. When I took the lid off the styrofoam bowl, I saw red. Someone misunderstood. I had ordered clam chowder. Lesson one: Clam chowder comes in both white and red.
My uncle then proceeded to teach me that red clam chowder was still chowder even though it looked and tasted quite different. Rather than my luxuriously creamy, potato-studded, white chowder, the red one was watery, salty and fishy. If not for the chewy, doughy clam cakes, I don’t think I would have gotten it down.
This is the part where I’m supposed to say, “Now, as an adult, I’ve gained an appreciation for red clam chowder.” Although intellectually I get it, like math, emotionally, I have no real connection with it. That’s why I won’t be sharing a recipe for red clam chowder with you today. I will, of course, be sharing a recipe for New England, or white clam chowder, as well as a recipe for West Coast-style crab and corn chowder, which also happens to be white.
Before we get to the recipes, let’s consider chowder’s history, which is as hearty as the meal itself. According to Merriam Webster, chowder is “a soup or stew of seafood (such as clams or fish) usually made with milk or tomatoes, salt pork, onions, and other vegetables (such as potatoes).”
Food historians have traced chowder to 16th and 17th century French and English fishing villages. According to Whatscookingamerica.net, when seafarers returned from long journeys, villagers would traditionally make a large cauldron of chowder using the fresh catch for the community to share. The tradition eventually spread to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New England.
According to the book “50 Chowders” by Jasper White, the first printed chowder recipe appeared in the Boston Evening Post on Sept. 23, 1751, and was made with onions, pork, well seasoned fish and biscuits. By 1836 it was being served in Boston’s Ye Olde Union Oyster House, a beloved restaurant known for its New England-style, seafood-centric fare.
Scores of chowder recipes popped up in newspapers, magazines and cookbooks along the East Coast throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. By the late 19th century, clam chowder had become a New England institution. Most clam chowders shared a few requisite ingredients: bacon, onions, potatoes, cream and thyme. Some used a roux of butter and flour as a thickener, while others used pureed potatoes or crushed crackers. Some added corn kernels, others sliced tomatoes.
The reverence for this regional culinary delight was perhaps best espoused by author and Massachusetts native Joseph C. Lincoln (1870-1944):
“A New England clam chowder, made as it should be, is a dish to preach about, to chant praise and sing hymns and burn incense before. To fight for ... It is as American as the Stars and Stripes, as patriotic as the national Anthem. It is ‘Yankee Doodle in a kettle.’”
Clam chowder was prized for its humbleness, affordability, expediency and heartiness, traits not uncommon in the folks who cherished it. It was a crowd-pleasing meal that could feed large families and satisfy everyone from finicky toddlers to hungry workmen.
Today, there are hundreds of chowder recipes made with numerous types of seafood, including mussels, shrimp, crab, lobster and smoked fish, not to mention chicken and vegetable chowders. There are regional specialities ranging from Minorcan Clam Chowder, a spicy red-broth version popular in Florida, to West Coast Salmon Chowder, a luxuriously creamy concoction treasured in the Pacific Northwest.
As for accompaniments and toppings, some people say chowder isn’t chowder without a sprinkling of oyster crackers on top. Others prefer saltines, flaky biscuits or dense cornbread. You decide.
And in case you’re wondering, I still eschew both differential equations and red clam chowder.
New England Style White Clam Chowder
Serves 6 to 8
3 bacon slices, preferably thick cut
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 pounds white potatoes, such as Yukon Gold or Russet, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
2 (10-ounce) cans of clams in juice; separate clams and juice
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
A generous sprinkling of fresh ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk (or heavy cream)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Oyster crackers, optional garnish
In a large, deep pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined dish. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat; discard the rest. Once bacon is cool, coarsely chop.
Add butter to the bacon fat and melt. Add onion and celery and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and all of the clam juice. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes; reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft but not mushy, about 12 minutes. Add the clams, thyme and black pepper. In a small bowl, whisk the milk and flour; add to the pot and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in diced bacon and parsley, and warm until heated through, about 7 minutes. Garnish with oyster crackers.

West Coast Style Corn and Crab Chowder With Corn and Bacon Relish
Serves 6 to 8
Corn and Bacon Relish
2 bacon slices, preferably thick cut
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
2 cups fresh corn kernels, about 2 ears (or unthawed frozen kernels)
4 green onions, sliced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
A sprinkling of salt
Chowder
5 bacon slices, preferably thick cut
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 large ears), or unthawed frozen kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 (32-ounce) container vegetable broth (I prefer low-sodium)
1 cup whole milk (or heavy cream)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, drained
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
A generous sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper
I recommend cooking all of the bacon at once for both the relish and the chowder. Therefore, in a large, deep pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook 7 slices bacon until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined dish. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat; discard the rest. Once bacon is cool, coarsely chop, reserving 2 of the slices for the relish.
For the relish: In a small pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 teaspoons oil. Add 2 cups corn kernels and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add green onions and cook 1 minute. Add chopped bacon, cilantro and salt; stir, remove from heat and set aside.
For the chowder: Add butter to the bacon fat in the pot and melt. Add onion and celery and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups corn kernels, red bell pepper, jalapeno and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes; reduce to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk the milk and flour and add to the pot. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in diced bacon, crab meat, fresh cilantro, salt and black pepper, and warm until heated through, about 7 minutes. Garnish with corn relish before serving.

Russo is a San Diego freelance food writer and cookbook author.

Oysters recipes

Cranberry Mignonette with Sage Oil
From Table owner and chef Logan Tharp
Makes 2 cups, or enough for 4 dozen oysters
Cranberry Mignonette
¾ cup water
½ cup fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup Champagne vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Boil water and add fresh cranberries and sugar. Reduce by one-third volume.
Strain into a bowl and reserve cranberries for garnish.
Chill in refrigerator.
In the meantime, whisk together Champagne vinegar, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl, and then add chilled, strained cranberry juice.
Sage oil
1 bunch of sage
1 cup canola or olive oil
Blanch 1 bunch of sage in boiling water for 30 seconds. Transfer sage immediately to an ice bath and chill.
On a low setting, blend blanched sage in a blender.
Slowly add canola oil or olive oil. Once sage is pureed, and you have a dark green oil, stop and immediately strain so the oil is free of particles.
Slice reconstituted cranberries for garnish.
Assembly:
Shuck oyster.
Spoon cranberry mignonette on top.
Add 2 slices of cranberry.
Finish with a few drops of sage oil.




Baked Oysters
From the Mooring Seafood Kitchen and Bar executive chef, Brian Pawlak
6 oysters
3 tbsp applewood smoked bacon, diced
¼ cup diced leeks
½ cup heavy cream
Pinch fresh tarragon
1 tbsp wakami seaweed salad
(available at Asian grocery stores)
1 tbsp tomatoes diced
Shuck oysters, and reserve to the side.
Render ¼-inch diced smoked applewood bacon in a saute pan; once crispy, drain on a towel.
Dice leeks and wash thoroughly.
Slowly cook the leeks and tarragon in the cream, melting them down while reducing the cream, and season with salt and pepper.
Add the oysters and bacon to the leeks to infuse the flavor.
Place the oyster shells on a plate with salt or seaweed underneath to provide a flat area, and add a pinch of wakami to each shell.
Scoop one oyster and bacon and leek cream back into the shell, and top with diced tomato.


Fried Oysters
From Bucktown owner Adam Mir
Canola oil
2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp Crystal hot sauce
12 large oysters (shucked and drained)
1 sleeve Saltine crackers (pulsed to
medium fine meal in food processor)
Kosher salt
Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil to 375 degrees in heavy pot or skillet.
Whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce and add oysters to this mixture.
Dredge oysters in cracker meal, pressing lightly to ensure they are well coated.
When oil is up to temperature, fry for 1 minute, turning if one side is getting more color.
Using a slotted spoon, remove oysters to paper towels. Sprinkle immediately with kosher salt.
Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.


Oak Grilled Oysters
From Greenwich Bay Oyster Bar owner, David Spaziano
1 pound of oak chips
1 tbsp freshly chopped garlic
2 tbsp butter
5 freshly shucked oysters
1 tsp heavy cream
2 tbsp of mayonnaise
Freshly chopped basil
½ tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak and light oak chips under grill.
Saute garlic and butter in a pan, then drizzle garlic and butter on each oyster in place on the grill. Cover, and let the oysters smoke for about five minutes. In the meantime, whisk together heavy cream, mayo, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.

Remove oysters from heat and drizzle on the compound mayonnaise.

How to Shuck an Oyster


Here’s how to get shucking:

1. Put your palm on top of the oyster and hold it securely against a hard surface. In your other hand, hold the oyster knife at a 45-degree angle, and force the tip of the blade in between the top and bottom shells at the hinge.

2. Wiggle your knife along the edge while prying up at the same time, lifting the top shell apart from the bottom shell.

3. Once the top shell is popped, run the knife’s blade along the underside of the top shell, and cut the top of the adductor muscle. The top shell should now be free.

4. Be sure to keep all the liquor inside the bottom of the oyster shell while gently slicing the adductor muscle under the meat.

With experience, you’ll be able to hold the oyster in your hand while shucking. “It’s all about practice and getting the feel of how to pop that hinge free”
saltpondoysters.com


THE BEST SEAFOOD IN RHODE ISLAND



From restaurants to markets to chefs' recipes, here are our favorite ways to get our seafood fix in the Ocean State.

July 18, 2018
 Jamie Coelho


The saying goes: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” But tell him (or her) which restaurant to visit for fish and they’ll go home happy and with a full belly. This month, our sustainable seafood guide features the freshest fillets, clams, oysters, lobster and more from our local waters. Go ahead, and put up a sign that says, “Gone fishing!” — even if the only heavy lifting you’ll do is with a fork.
Amaral’s Fish and Chips
Don’t wait until Lent to make fish and chips a Friday ritual. Amaral’s is a family business, open since 1984, and fish frying is in its owners’ blood. Eat in, or take out, the haddock is fried in a light flour batter until hot and crisp and served with housemade tartar sauce, a pile of fries and coleslaw. Go straight to the counter or give Amaral’s a call to place your order; just be ready for the piping hot handoff five minutes later. Stuffies, baked scrod (on Fridays) and clam cakes and chowder are all popular options, whether you go with natural Rhode Island-style, white cream or Manhattan red clam, or take a Portuguese spin and order kale soup for dunking instead. 4 Redmond St., Warren, 247-0675, amaralsfishandchips.com

Birch
Since birch executive chef and owner, Ben Sukle, began gardening on a tiny plot in the greenhouse at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Garden, local herbs, leaves and flowers join the Narragansett Bay seafood dishes on his restaurant’s four-course menu. Clam lovers should explore the littleneck clam on the first course: tenderly poached Rhode Island littlenecks accordion with garden-fresh Thai basil and tender baby lettuce leaves between thin discs of crisp kohlrabi. Each bite delivers oceanic salinity and vegetable crunch. A drizzle of fermented kohlrabi juice provides a suitably bracing tartness. All of it nestles in a graphite-hued ceramic vessel, making the dish a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. 200 Washington St., Providence, 272-3105, birchrestaurant.com

Bywater
Sure, you could peruse the menu on social media before you go, but you might fare better by choosing your fish dish at the table. Bywater changes its dishes on the daily, cooking with the seasons and using what’s available from farms and fishermen. There’s always local oysters (hit up Mondays for $1 deals), smoked trout pate and local steamed littlenecks on the lineup (save some of the excellent housemade brown bread for extra dipping). For entrees, the steady summer star is striped bass prepared in myriad ways (as long as they can get it). A small patio has a distant view of Warren’s waterfront, where there’s a park fit for a sunset stroll. 54 State St., Warren, 694-0727, bywaterrestaurant.com

Champlin’s Seafood Deck
The quintessential spot for seafood that’s baked, broiled and fried, Champlin’s overlooks Narragansett Bay where commercial fishing vessels land fresh seafood daily at its loading docks. Not only can you have the bounty of the sea prepared for you upstairs at the restaurant — the fried seafood dinners, served with red potatoes and coleslaw, are a must — but you can also peruse the market to take home your own specialties for cooking. If your friends are jealous of your seafood-boasting Facebook post, surprise them with overnight lobster and clams delivered to their door. Who could say no to an authentic Rhode Island clambake? 256 Great Island Rd., Narragansett, 783-3152, champlins.com


Fluke Newport
With a name like Fluke, it best have local seafood species available, and you bet it does. The restaurant has one of the most comprehensive sustainable seafood menus in the state, giving prime real estate to tautog, fluke, skate, monkfish, striped sea bass, yellowfin tuna, swordfish and more. Whether fish is roasted, pan seared or fried, chef Eddie Montalvo shows there are many more options than salmon and cod. Popular summer dishes include seared sea scallops with baby bok choy, Rhode Island mushrooms and chili soy glaze and roasted lobster with handmade pasta. Anti-fish eaters dine well here, too, with choices such as roasted Baffoni Farm chicken, New York strip sirloin and more. Sip artisanal cocktails made with fresh juices and syrups in the upstairs dining room overlooking Bannister’s and Bowen’s wharfs. Bannister’s Wharf, Newport, 849-7778, flukenewport.com
 Fluke Newport’s roasted lobster over handmade spinach angel hair pasta with morel mushrooms and ramp butter. Photography by Angel Tucker.

Jamestown Fish
Located a stone’s throw from East Ferry Beach, Jamestown Fish comes by its name naturally: Half of its inventive menu is devoted to the sea.
In his refined take on a classic New England lobster salad, executive chef, Matthew MacCartney, marries warm Newport Lobster Company lobster, purple artichokes, fennel, tarragon and delicate mache. Blueberries provide a delightful acidic contrast to the sweet lobster. Fish also boasts an impressive wine list and each Thursday, the restaurant focuses on a specific region or grape varietal, pouring wines that are generally only available by the bottle and offering a
two-course meal for $25. On Vintage Thursdays, guests are welcome to bring their own bottle based on the theme of the night. 14 Narragansett Ave., Jamestown, 423-3474, jamestownfish.com

Maddie’s Restaurant and Bar
Maddie’s is the relaunched seafood restaurant attached to DiMare fish market. The family-owned and operated restaurant, named after the owners’ young daughter, specializes in fresh-from-the-boat fish cooked on the spot and served at tables, or customers can buy from the market and cook at home. Specialties include fried favorites, baked casseroles and pan-seared salmon, swordfish and scallops. The frutti di mare is a popular choice with mussels, clams, shrimp and calamari over pappardelle. There’s also a five-course prix fixe dinner that includes a craft beer or wine pairing for each dish for $45 per person. 2706 South County Trl., East Greenwich, 885-8100, maddiesrestaurantandbar.com

Matunuck Oyster Bar
Owner Perry Raso farms seven acres of shellfish in Potter Pond and is a regional and national expert on aquaculture and merroir. In fact, part of the Matunuck magic might include a tour of the farm and a discussion of the unique characteristics of Rhode Island’s estuarine environment that give Matunuck oysters their buttery, briny, meaty deliciousness. Enjoy a dozen on the half shell or get a little adventurous and order them broiled with a chipotle-bourbon barbecue sauce or fried atop a salad of greens from Matunuck’s own vegetable farm. No matter what preparation you choose, sit on the deck, breathe in the marine air, and enjoy your pond-to-plate experience. 629 Succotash Rd., South Kingstown, 783-4202, rhodyoysters.com

Metacom Kitchen
In Warren, a town laden with a whaling and shipbuilding pedigree, it should come as no surprise that chef Richard Allaire takes advantage of his position in between Narragansett and Mount Hope bays to deliver fresh local seafood to his diners. Amidst the gleaming dark wood and lofty white ceilings of Metacom Kitchen, Allaire gives plump New Bedford-landed scallops a masterful sear and then gilds the sweet flesh with a delicate lettuce broth, crunchy jicama salad and buttery avocado. Habanero-spiked salt adds a subtle heat. To amp up the localism, the dish is plated on pottery from Providence’s the Little Clay Studio. 322 Metacom Ave., Warren, 245-1193, metacomkitchen.com

Midtown Oyster Bar
Midtown is more than just oysters, though the bivalves from farms across the region are the definite draw. Try them naked with a squeeze of lemon or mignonette, or order the torched versions with jalapeño-bourbon butter. There’s also a poke menu with tuna and sesame-lime vinaigrette, and spicy Rhode Island clams are paired with mango, celery, chili paste and citrus. For entrees, local fish options include roasted native cod marinated in salty sweet shiro-miso sake and the sesame-crusted mahi mahi served with a rich and creamy red curry coconut sauce. 345 Thames St., Newport, 619-4100, midtownoyster.com

Newport Restaurant Group
Newport Restaurant Group’s nine outposts together are one of the largest supporters of local food in the state, including working with fishermen who follow sustainable fishing methods. Seafood-focused restaurants include 22 Bowen’s, the Mooring, Boat House, Hemenway’s, Castle Hill Inn, Trio and Waterman Grille — most with stellar waterfront views, too — where you can find fish and shellfish on the menu. Notables include Hemenway’s whole roasted fish of the day, which focuses on local species. Across the menus, the lobster rolls and Point Judith calamari always earn top marks. For all locations, visit newportrestaurantgroup.com

New Rivers
At the base of Steeple Street, in the former Congdon and Carpenter Mill, chef and owner, Beau Vestal, delivers a new rendition of Rhode Island’s signature stuffed clam. Instead of quahogs, Vestal sources littlenecks from Connecticut and Walrus and Carpenter in Charlestown, then roasts them with smoked bacon butter, horseradish and thyme breadcrumbs to create an elevated version of the stuffie: crispy on top, and with a much higher clam-to-bread ratio than the traditional. If oysters, rather than clams, float your boat, check out Tuesday nights, when the bivalves, including buttery Walrus and Carpenter “Dutchies,” are $1 each. 7 Steeple St., Providence, 751-0350, newriversrestaurant.com 


Nicks on Broadway
Settle in to experience chef-owner Derek Wagner’s tasting menu — bonus points if you choose the chef’s counter for a front row seat — featuring four or seven courses that will surprise and delight with culinary treasures from local farms and waters. There are always some local bay mainstays on both his brunch and dinner menus, like the eggs Benedict, sometimes served with Point Judith fish for brunch, or a simple citrus roasted fish fillet from a native, seasonal species for dinner. Salt Water Farms oysters are served on the half shell with bright mignonettes or roasted and topped with bacon aioli, kale, herbs and bread crumbs. 500 Broadway, Providence, 421-0286, nicksonbroadway.com


North
North cooks have a way with squid, fluke, flounder and whole scup. While the family-style, shared plates menu changes on the daily at the new larger location inside the Dean Hotel, seafood is usually paired with flavors like fresh ginger, horseradish, citrus and herbs. Chirashi is sushi in a bowl. Raw local species of fish — usually collected from the docks in Point Judith — sit atop a bed of rice that’s flavored with kombu (dried kelp). Point Judith squid might be charred on the grill, cooked in a cast iron pan or served with dan dan noodles and mutton. North uses native ingredients and fermented flavors while playing off its interpretation of global cuisine. 122 Fountain St., Providence, foodbynorth.com


Oberlin
Start with a platter of raw local fish including fluke, flounder, scallops or black bass, assembled like crudo and drizzled with nothing but good extra virgin olive oil and citrus or soy and fresh parsley and other herbs. Depending on availability, the whole fish of the day could be black bass, scup or even John Dory, and it usually comes with a pile of braised greens or spinach and salty capers in a zesty lemon picatta sauce. Don’t be intimidated by the sight of it; even though it’s whole, they practically debone it for you to make for easier eating. Sit on the patio for a view of Grant’s Block, timed perfectly during a summer festival for prime people-watching. 186 Union St., Providence, 588-8755, oberlinrestaurant.com


Persimmon
Sometimes it’s hard to decide which mollusk to choose. At Persimmon, a diner doesn’t have to make this difficult choice. Exhibiting the bounty of both Narragansett and Mount Hope bays, chef Champe Speidel’s chilled shellfish salad includes everything you could ever want; gently marinated mussels, oysters, clams and scallops, dressed with citrus and joined on the plate by crisp fennel. Tiny finger lime vesicles that burst like tart fruit caviar provide a playful component to the elegance of the composed dish. Indecision has never tasted so delightful. 99 Hope St., Providence, 432-7422, persimmonri.com


Scales and Shells
For more than three decades, Debra and Andrew Ackerman have delivered on the promise inherent in the name of their Thames Street restaurant. At Scales and Shells, a printed menu is too confining, so a blackboard boasts an ever-changing bounty of ocean delicacies, including a large selection from the waters off Aquidneck Island. All manner of fin and shellfish make their way onto the list, but for something a little different, try the white clam pizza: a pie version of linguini with clam sauce. Juicy littlenecks from Tiverton, redolent with garlic and herbs, top a bubbly, blistered crust and local mozzarella provides delicious stretchiness. Thanks to an open kitchen, diners can follow their dinner from pan to plate, although al fresco dining beckons in warmer months. 527 Thames St., Newport, 846-3474, scalesandshells.com


Schultzy’s Snack Shack
Located next door to Rhode Island institution Flo’s, this unassuming stone-faced shack broadcasts its non-seafood snacks like burgers and fries, but locals know the sleeper hit is the clam cakes and chowder. Fritters are scooped uniformly from a batter that contains cornmeal flecked with fresh ground pepper, and stuffed with large chunks of super-tender clams that form gnarly nubbins on the outside. Dip them into creamy chowder chock full of buttery clams, cream and diced potatoes and you’ll go straight to clam cakes and chowder heaven. The outdoor area boasts picnic tables and cornhole, plus an ice cream stand for after-dinner treats. 346 Park Ave., Portsmouth, 683-2663, schultzyssnackshack.com


Two Little Fish
Family-owned for twenty-one years, this little seafood spot on Misquamicut Beach has a clam shack history. Married couple Tim and Jennifer Brennan met years ago while working at a clam shack on the Connecticut shoreline with Jennifer’s brother, Kevin Urbonas. Over the years, they decided to open their own seafood place together along with Kevin’s wife, Nancy. For two decades, they’ve been serving up some of the freshest fish in Westerly. Specialties include the heaping crispy battered and fried fishermen’s platter and the twin lobster rolls for two.  Lobster rolls are full of claw and tail meat, served in a toasted buttered roll, and you can choose between warm with butter or cold and mixed with mayo and lettuce, or get one of each. Be sure to arrive early before popular dishes sell out for the day and it closes up shop for the evening. 300 Atlantic Ave., Misquamicut, 348-9941, twolittlefishseafood.com


White Horse Tavern
The White Horse Tavern is the original local food restaurant, using ingredients from nearby farms and waters since 1673. It boasts an upscale atmosphere — collared shirts are necessary for men — and local seafood gets the artistic treatment by executive chef, Richard Silvia, and team. Bluff Hill Cove oysters out of Point Judith are dressed in a charred nori vinaigrette, wasabi tobiko caviar and sesame seeds, while local black bass is pan-seared until crisp and topped with shaved fennel, citrus and smoky tomato jam. Point Judith calamari, tender, unadulterated — read: not fried — is perfect on a bed of carrot top pesto with beans, garlic, tomato and lemon. 26 Marlborough St., Newport, 849-3600, whitehorsenewport.com


Ye Olde English Fish and Chips

When you have a recipe that’s worked for more than ninety-five years, why change it? This family-run fish and chips spot in the heart of Woonsocket has been around since 1922 when a married couple from Yorkshire, England, opened their restaurant across the street from where it’s now located. Now the fourth generation runs the counter-service institution, serving cod dipped in an English-style batter with a crust that maintains its crispness, even after a generous dousing of malt vinegar. 25 South Main St., Woonsocket, 762-3637, yeoldeenglishfishandchips.com

Lobsta


New England Clam Dip


Ingredients

•           1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
•           1 7-ounce can minced clams
•           1/2 pint (1 cup) sour cream
•           1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
•           2 tablespoons onion juice (see Note)
•           1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

Drain the clams, reserving some of the liquid, and mash into the softened cream cheese. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well.
If a thinner dip is required, use 1 or 2 tablespoons of the reserved clam liquid to thin the mixture. For a thicker dip, omit the sour cream and use 2 packages of cream cheese instead of just one.
Onion juice is easily produced by grating an onion, then straining the pulp to free the onion juice.



Stuffed Clams



Also known as “stuffies,” these stuffed clams, flavored with onion, celery, and green pepper, are a signature Rhode Island dish.

When preparing clams, many prefer to remove the dark stomachs for aesthetic reasons. It’s also popular to bake the mixture in littleneck clam shells. You may also want to make a double batch so you can freeze half to keep on hand for unexpected company. Don’t have fresh clams? Canned clams substitute nicely.

Ingredients
•           1 cup chopped littleneck (quahog) clams and liquid
•           1/2 cup finely chopped onion
•           1/2 cup finely chopped celery
•           1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
•           4 tablespoons butter
•           2 tablespoons flour
•           1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
•           1/4 teaspoon salt
•           Dash of black pepper
•           Dash of Worcestershire sauce
•           12 Ritz crackers, crushed
•           1 tablespoon butter, melted
•           Paprika

Instructions

Remove stomachs from clams and grind clams in a food mill or chop them by hand until you have 1 cup of clams and liquid.

Cook onion, celery, and green pepper in 4 tablespoons butter until vegetables are tender, but not brown.
Stir in flour, cheese, and seasonings. Add 1/4 cup of crushed crackers, and mix well.

Stir in clams with their liquid, and cook and stir until mixture is thick and bubbly. Divide mixture among 15 to 18 littleneck clam shells, or 10 to 12 larger clam shells, or spoon into a casserole dish (as a last resort).

Combine remaining crumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle over filled shells. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.


Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.