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.

Lagniappe Brasserie Clam Chowder

William A. Grambo, West Allis, requested the recipe for clam chowder served at Lagniappe Brasserie, 17001 W. Greenfield Ave., New Berlin.

He wrote: "All entrées were excellent, but the clam chowder was exceptional. I would appreciate it if the chef would consider sharing the recipe."
Andy Tenaglia, chef, sent the recipe, which he broke down in size for Journal Sentinel readers. He said the soup is served as a side dish with entrées, but it can also be served as a main dish.

Lagniappe Brasserie Clam Chowder
Make 8 to 10 main-dish servings
6 cups Fish Fumet (see recipe)
5 ounces applewood smoked bacon (or any deep smoky local product you prefer), diced
1 medium onion (about 6 ounces) and/or leek or shallot, diced small
2 ribs (about 4 ounces) celery, diced small
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried dill
½ cup flour
1 large russet potato (about 12 ounces), cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 pounds clams, minced
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Prepare Fish Fumet.
To make chowder: In large, heavy bottomed stockpot, cook bacon over medium heat until soft but not colored. Add onion and celery and sweat gently until tender. Add garlic, thyme and dill and sauté 30 seconds.
Add flour and cook to make a blond roux, 3 to 6 minutes over low heat until flour mixture pulls away from side of pan. (If you do not have much bacon fat in your pan, you may need to add additional bacon fat to cook flour.)
Slowly add stock (Fish Fumet) to flour mixture, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Mixture should be a medium thickness. If too thick, thin with a little milk.
Add potato and simmer 20 minutes or until tender and until any taste of flour has disappeared. Add clams and cream and simmer 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and both peppers.

Fish fumet:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ribs (about 4 ounces) celery, diced small
1 small onion (about 3 ounces), diced small
1 small leek (about 3 ounces; white part only), diced small
3 pounds fish bones (see note)
1 cup white wine
8 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fennel fronds (optional)
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
2 bay leaves

In a large stockpot, heat oil. Add vegetables and gently sweat about 5 minutes or until tender. Add bones and sweat 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced by about half. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 30 to 40 minutes. Strain and chill if not using immediately. You will need 6 cups stock to use to make clam chowder. Any remaining stock can be frozen.
Note: Use bones from white or light-colored fish. If you do not have bones on hand, ask your local fishmonger to save them for you.