Creamy New England Seafood Chowder

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What sets this New England-style chowder apart from all the rest? It's deeply flavored yet light and decidedly not overly thick. This recipe is from Larsen's Fish Market, a tiny little seafood shack in the tiny little fishing village of Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard. Recipe by Betsy And Kristine Larsen, Larsen's Fish Market, Martha's Vineyard.
 Larsen's is famous for seafood chowder. It's not one of those thick murky, gloppy chowders that develop a nasty film as they sit. No. This is a delicate, brothy, and appropriately creamy version with a strong backbone of flavor thanks to both dry sherry and Old Bay seasoning.

INGREDIENTS - Makes about 8 quarts
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more
1 Tbsp. dry sherry or mirin
2 1/2 cups clam juice, divided
2 cups fish or seafood stock or broth
1 lb. potatoes (any kind), peeled,cut into ½" pieces
1 1/4 lb. mixed white fish (such as swordfish and/or sea bass) and shellfish (such as peeled, deveined shrimp), cut into 1/2 " pieces
8 oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into cubes (optional)
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2  cup half-and-half
1. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Cook onion and celery, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in Old Bay and 1 tsp. pepper; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add sherry; cook, stirring occasionally, until alcohol has cooked off, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup clam juice; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft, about 5 minutes. Add stock and remaining 2 cups clam juice and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer, uncovered, adjusting heat as needed, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add fish and shellfish and cook, stirring gently, just until mixture returns to a simmer, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lobster meat if using.
2. While the potatoes are simmering, melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until light blond in color, about 1 minute. Whisk in half-and-half and 1 cup chowder broth (skimmed off the top) and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Cook, still whisking, until thickened and creamy.
3. Stir half-and-half mixture into chowder ; return to medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring gently. Remove from heat; season with salt and more pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with oyster crackers.

Doris Clark

Member since Jun 2007

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