I love being on a boat, feeling the waves rock underneath the hull and the sea breeze ravaging through my hair. I actually had my boat license when I was 13.
I love swimming in the sea – the salt water does wonders for my skin and hair – although admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve took a dip.
I love the smell, specifically of the seaweed when the tide is low. Before you say “ew!”, it’s a smell that I’ve grown up with my entire life, and I find it oddly comforting in a strange, musky way.
And I can’t forget to mention the seafood. Oh gosh, the seafood. There was one point in my life where I lived in a cabin in a very secluded inlet and we actually caught fresh, Dungeness crab and giant prawns right off of our dock. They’d be grilled up and on our plate, sided with delicious garlic butter and ready for dipping within 20 minutes.
There’s just no beating that.
Being 12 and living in a place that was boat-access only (no road), with no electricity (think generator and oil lamps), and a water taxi that picked me up for school every morning (like a school bus, but on the water) was definitely a life-altering experience.
While other girls were having sleepovers and gossiping about boys, I was chopping wood and swimming in the ocean. While other girls played barbies inside, I was outside, dirt on my knees, making shelters and playing Survivor.
At times I hated it – what 12-year-old girl wants to take a boat in the pouring rain to get home, then have to go turn on the generator and start a fire to get the house warm? – but most of the time I loved it. I’ve always been an introvert, and living in a secluded inlet, surrounded by forests, creeks, boulders to read on and and unending places to explore was, in a word, heaven.
I definitely miss that life, but I can’t complain. I may not live in a waterfront cabin anymore, but at least I still live on the west coast.
Having said all that about me loving seafood, I never usually ate clams when I was younger. At least I never knew if I ate them. I used to squish mussels and clams just to watch them goo everywhere. Crab and prawns I knew were yummy. Clams were uncharted territory until just a few years ago. See this post.
But they are good. Especially in a hearty, creamy, warm and toasty chowder.
This is a really easy chowder to make, using a lot of pantry staples and taking about an hour start to finish. I usually just use canned clams (because I’m cheap) but you can also use fresh clams if you feel like splurging. I also recommend using homemade chicken stock, if you have it (think post-Thanksgiving leftovers!) because it really boosts the flavour. But any stock or broth will do.
You shouldn’t skip the bread bowls, either. Soup is always so much more fun to eat out of a bowl of bread. The hollowed out bread gives you pieces to use for dipping, and you can eat the bowl after. How awesome is that?
|Clam Chowder Sourdough Bread Bowls with Crispy Bacon|| |
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup white wine
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
- 2 142g-can of clams, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk (I use skim)
- 1 cup frozen corn (or fresh, if you have it)
- A handful of fresh clams (optional)
- 4 sourdough bread bowls, insides hollowed out
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, saute bacon pieces until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and cool; set aside.
- Preheat oven to 200° and place sourdough bread bowls in oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Be sure to hollow them out first! Keep the inside bits for dipping into the soup.
- In the pot with bacon fat, add oil, onion, garlic and celery and saute until softened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add wine and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle with flour, stirring to coat all ingredients. Add stock and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Add potatoes and bring back to a boil. Add a bit more water to submerge the potatoes, if necessary. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Add canned clams, cream, milk, and corn and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- If using real clams, place them in a small pot and cover with enough water to submerge them. Boil for a few minutes until clams have opened. Remove from water, discard any clams that haven't opened (there may be one or two) and let cool.
- Serve inside warm bread bread bowls and garnish with crispy bacon and fresh clams.