Friday, August 26, 2005
St. Augustine Minorcan Style Clam Chowder Recipe
At the risk of being hunted down and getting a good thrashing for sharing secret Minorcan recipes, I have decided to share a Minorcan Clam Chowder recipe. I confess to "adjusting recipes" to my liking, but this one is a pretty good version of the native St. Augustine chowder.
1/8 pound salt pork or smoked bacon chopped fine
2 large onions chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
2 cups fresh clams, chopped fine, juice reserved
1-2 datil peppers, minced
3 cups canned plum tomatoes drained, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 tablespoon thyme, crumbled
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 bay leaves crushed
2- 8 ounce bottles clam juice
3 cups fish stock
2 cups new potatoes, diced
Saute pork in large pot over medium heat until fat is rendered. Remove pork and set aside. Add onions, bell pepper, and cook until softened. Add clams, reserved clam juice, datil peppers, tomatoes, tomato puree, seasonings, clam juice, fish stock, and reserved pork. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer one hour. Add potatoes and cook 30-45 minutes more. Add additional stock or clam juice if too thick.
This is from one of our St. Augustine eateries known for good chowder.
My own plan is similar. Instead of fish stock, I try to use fresh Cedar Key Sweets farm raised clams. I steam them and reserve the steaming broth to add to the chowder.
Since farm raised clams are bite size anyway, I don't chop 'em up.
I also don't eat it the same day unless it has got a chance to simmer all day, not the short time in the recipe above. I prefer to let it sit in the fridge over night and then eat it the next day.
Your problem is going to be finding a datil pepper. They are in the habanero (meaning from Havana) family, but not the same thing. Whatever pepper you substitute may be good, but remember...it ain't Minorcan without a datil in it!