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.

TRADITIONAL NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER


o          3 1/4lb (1.5kg) fresh littleneck clams
o          10 tbsp (11/4 sticks) unsalted butter
o          1/4 cup all-purpose flour
o          1 cup dry white wine
o          3 cups hot Fish Stock
o          1 cup fresh corn kernels, or drained and rinsed canned corn
o          1 yellow onion, cut into 1/2in (1cm) dice
o          1 leek (white part only), cut into 1/2in (1cm) dice
o          2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
o          1 large baking potato, about 7oz (200g), peeled and cut into 1/2in (1cm) dice
o          2/3 cup heavy cream a handful of fresh parsley (curly or flat-leaf), roughly chopped
o          sea salt and freshly milled white pepper

How to make TRADITIONAL NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER

           Clean the clams by soaking them in cold water for at least 20 minutes, or up to an hour.

           Meanwhile, make a beurre manié (butter and flour liaison). Soften 4 tbsp of the butter and mix in the flour to make a thick paste. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

           Drain the clams in a colander and rinse under cold water to check there’s no sand left in the shells. Discard any clams that are open or that do not close when tapped sharply on the countertop. Heat a wide saucepan over high heat until hot, add the clams and wine, and cover the pan tightly. Give the pan a shake, then take off the lid—some or all of the clams will be open. Remove the open ones with a slotted spoon and set aside. Put the lid on again, and continue until all the clams are out of the pan. (Discard any that stay closed.)

           When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells, reserving some in shells for garnishing. Pour the cooking liquid slowly through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, leaving the sediment behind in the bottom of the first pan. Mix the hot fish stock with the cooking liquid and set aside.

           If using fresh corn, blanch it in a small pan of salted boiling water for 1 minute, then drain and rinse under cold water.

           Heat the remaining butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, and garlic, and cook without coloring for a few minutes until they start to soften. Season with a little salt. Add the potato and cook for about 5 minutes until softened, then remove from the heat and stir in the shelled clams and corn. Set aside.

           Bring the fish stock to a boil. Whisk in the beurre manié in small pieces, then boil and whisk until thickened. Stir in the cream and bring back to a boil, then add the clams and vegetables and heat through gently for a minute or two. Season lightly, and finish by adding the clams in their shells and the parsley. Serve hot