Raymond Blanc’s light shellfish chowder
This easy chowder is a satisfying, creamy broth that’s perfect for a quick, no-fuss winter supper.
For the chowder
- 100ml/3½fl oz dry white wine
- 500g/1lb 2oz clams, scrubbed and de-bearded (discard any clams that do not close tightly when tapped firmly)
- 500g/1lb 2oz mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded (discard any mussels that do not close tightly when tapped firmly)
- 30g/1¼oz unsalted butter
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 50ml/2fl oz whipping cream or double cream
- 10g/½oz wakame (edible seaweed, available from specialist Japanese stores and some larger supermarkets), quickly dipped in cold water to soften
- 2g finely grated root ginger
- finely grated nutmeg, to taste
- dash lemon juice, to taste
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 baguette, warmed and sliced (optional)
For the chowder, pour the wine into a large, heavy-based, lidded saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat until the liquid is simmering steadily, then add the clams and mussels and cover the pan with the lid. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the shellfish have opened (discard any clams and mussels whose shells do not open during cooking).
Strain the shellfish through a fine sieve, collecting the cooking liquid in a separate saucepan. Suspend the shellfish over the pan; when cool enough to handle, pick all of the meat from the shells and reserve. Discard the shells.
Heat the butter over a medium heat in a saucepan measuring at least 26cm/10in in diameter. Fry the onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes, or until softened but not coloured.
Add the reserved cooking liquid and the bay leaf, 150ml/5fl oz water, cream and wakame, then bring the mixture to the boil. Once boiling, add the ginger, a grating of nutmeg (to taste) and the picked shellfish meats and heat through for a minute or so. Season, to taste, with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a dash or two of lemon juice.
To serve, ladle the chowder into bowls and sprinkle a little chopped parsley over each serving. Serve a few baguette slices alongside, if using.