The winter winds are blowing already and there is nothing like a hot, steaming bowl of Minorcan Clam Chowder to cure what ails you.
Minorcan Clam Chowder is “minorcan” in large part due to the use of the Datil pepper and the historical roots of the cuisine centered in and around St. Augustine Florida. If you are a chowder lover, you are in for a real treat with Minorcan Clam Chowder. The Datil pepper is similar to the Scotch Bonnet pepper in taste, but with a distinct fruity flavor all its own. The heat is on par with its Caribbean counterpart and not insignificant but, quite manageable in a wide range of recipe settings. A little goes a long way.
Minorcan Clam Chowder Ingredients
Little Neck Clams: 2 lbs in the shell
Tomatoes: 1 – 28 oz can, diced
1/2 & 1/2: 1 cup
Clam Juice: 16 oz
Bacon: 1/2 lb julienned cross-wise
Red Potatoes: 2 cups, cubed
Onion: 1/2 large, diced
Red Pepper: 1/2 large, diced
Celery: 2 stalks, diced
Garlic: 2 cloves, diced
Datil Sauce: 2 Tbsp (you may substitute fresh Datil peppers. If so, 2-3 diced)
I use, and recommend, the Datil sauce made by the fellows at Minorcan Mayhem The product is superior and they are decent folk to work with.
Rosemary: 1 sprig
Thyme: 1 Tsp
Oregano: 1 Tsp
Salt: 1 Tsp
White Pepper: to taste
Here’s just about everything you will need to make Minorcan Clam Chowder sans the bacon and half & half.
To get the dish right and to make the whole process run smooth there is a distinct order of activities.
Get all of the chopping, slicing and dicing of the fixin’s done first.
Puree the tomatoes and 1/2 & 1/2 in a blender.
Light the grill (you may skip this step if you choose to steam the clams on the stove top).
Pre cook the potatoes to almost done, drain and set aside
When your coals are ready get your clams on the grill. With a medium heat it will take 7-10 minutes for the clams to open up. I got lucky this time around… a 100% open rate. All good clams. Happy as a….
While the clams are opening, saute the bacon, remove the meat when done and then saute the veggies in the bacon fat. Retrieve the now opened clams. Make an effort to pull the clams off the grill without losing too much of the juice that is in the shell. Good luck with that.
With the heat on medium. add the bacon back to the pan. Stir in the tomato/dairy mixture, the clam juice the Datil sauce and the spices. stir frequently bringing the pan to a slow simmer. Pull the clam meat from the shells, chop it up a bit and add to the pan. Cook/stir the contents of the pan for about 10 minutes to let everything have a chance to come together.
Plate it up and get it while it is hot.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays and tight lines. Bon Appétit