To those who were in the path of the storm and devastation last week, my head and heart have been heavy with everything I’ve learned, know that my thoughts are with you. Wherever you are. I hope that you’re staying warm and safe, and finding human spirit shining through.
For now, here’s to keeping cozy. A studded little chowder for the grateful soul. ps. Today is a big day, yes? Happy votes. Time is moving entirely too fast.
Take care of each other. xo, sarah b.
Smoked Tomato Chowder // Serves 4
4 large tomatoes, sliced or quartered
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon smoked extra-virgin olive oil,
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
2 dozen cherrystone clams
2-3 dozen mussels
1 pound squid, sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, finely diced
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
4 cups fish stock
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
Sea salt + pepper, to taste
1/2 cup baby heirloom cherry tomatoes,halved for garnish
Finely chopped chives or micro herbs, for garnishing
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss together the tomatoes, sliced garlic, 1/4 cup of smoked olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in one layer on parchment lined baking sheet and roast for one hour.
In the meantime, wash and scrub clams and mussels, set aside. In a large pot over medium heat, add 1/2 tablespoon of butter and half of the minced garlic and shallots, season with salt, and stir until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the white wine, lemon juice, clams, mussels, fish stock, and bay leaves and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer for about 10 minutes to steam open the clams and mussels. The mussels will open up first. At about 5 minutes, check in. Take a pair of tongs to remove any mussels that have opened up, set aside, cover pot again, and continue to cook the remaining. Repeat every few minutes. Once shells have steamed open, remove all from the pot, and discard any that don’t open. With the broth still simmering over low to medium heat, drop in the sliced squid, and cook through until tender. Use a large slotted spoon to gather squid pieces from broth, and place in a bowl to set aside. Pull the clams and mussels from their shells, and give them a very rough chop, maintaining beautifully plump pieces. Add to reserved bowl of squid and cover. Pour broth into a large bowl through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Set aside.
Rinse pot, and heat 1 tablespoon of smoked olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter over medium heat, add the remaining shallots and garlic and cook until translucent and soft. Sprinkle the flour into the pot, while stirring to coat every bit well. Slowly pour reserved broth into the mixture, while whisking vigorously to break up any clusters of flour. Once broth is incorporated and consistency is truly even, pull the roasted tomatoes from the oven and add them to the liquid. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot. Blend until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve to ensure an even consistency and return soup to the pot. Turn heat to low, and fold in reserved clams, mussels, and squid. Slowly pour in milk and stir to combine, making sure everything is at an even heat. Taste to adjust seasonings with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Serve this hot in some nice spacious bowls, and garnish with halved cherry tomatoes, a sprinkle of sea salt, chives, greens, and add a drizzle of smoked olive oil.