4 slices thick-cut bacon (about 4-½ ounces), chopped

2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter

1-½ cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

4 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

three 8 ounce bottles clam juice

2 cups whole milk

3 bay leaves

1-½ pounds mahi-mahi, cut into 1-½ cubes

8 ounces crabmeat

12  Manila clams, scrubbed

12 mussels, scrubbed

2 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves

one 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

  1. Cook bacon in a heavy large pot over medium heat, stirring often, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
  1. Add butter to pot; stir until melted.  Add onion, celery, thyme and garlic;  saute until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add flour and stir 1 minute.  Gradually add clam juice and milk, stirring constantly.  Add bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.  (Chowder can be made 1 day ahead to this point.  Cool slightly.  Cover soup and bacon separately and chill.  Bring to a simmer before continuing.)
  1. Add mahi-mahi, crabmeat, clams and mussels to simmering soup. Simmer until mussels open (discard any that do not open) and until fish is cooked through, about 6 minutes.  Add spinach;  stir until  wilted, about 1 minute.  Stir in coconut milk and bacon.  Divide chowder among bowls and serve.


from Rodman Machado, chef at the Palm Terrace, a restaurant in Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort, printed in Bon Appetit magazine, May, 2008

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