BONAC CLAM CHOWDER (“half and half,” for twelve)

 Soups, chowders, Bonac clam chowder 2  Soups, chowders, Bonac clam chowder 3

Located on the Atlantic coast between Boston and Manhattan, Long Island makes chowder that reflects its geography and features both dairy and tomatoes.  Locals call it “half and half.”  The recipe below, from East Hampton, proves it has been there for more than a century.

¼ pound salt pork, finely diced

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced

3 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

4 tomatoes, peeled, halved, seeded and thinly sliced

2 stalks celery, trimmed and thinly sliced

4 cups shucked cherrystone clams, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

2-1/2 quarts clam juice

¼ pound butter, melted (optional)

½ cup half and half (optional)

  1. Sauté the salt pork in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Add onions and cook until golden, about 15 minutes.
  1. Layer half of the potatoes on top of the onions and salt pork and continue layering, using half the carrots, then half the tomatoes, half the celery and half the clams.  Top with half the parsley and thyme.  Make a second set of layers with the remaining ingredients.  Add the clam juice, reduce heat to low, cover pot and slowly simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 1-1/2 hours.  Serve as is, or add butter and half and half.


from The East Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society Cookbook, l898, reprinted in Saveur Magazine, September/October, 1998


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