I like chowder. Do you like chowder? We recently made a smoked oyster chowder for a party and it was a hit.
The first step was to get some beach oysters from Steve at Sawmill Bay Shellfish on the Island. The day before making the chowder, they were shucked and smoked them in their brine in a cold smoker for just over an hour. At the same time, I smoked the cream that would finish the soup the next day. Once smoked, they were immediately sealed in containers overnight to hold in the smoke and let it all soak in. The next day, some bacon and the chowder aromatics (onion, garlic, celery, fennel, potato and sunchoke) were sweated down in olive oil and butter. Once they were smelling nice, a half bottle of dry vermouth went over and reduced until dry. A little flour then went over the vegetables to lightly thicken the soup, followed by some clam nectar and the smoky oyster brine (minus the oysters) from the day before. When the vegetables were just about cooked, the smoked cream from the day before went in and simmered for a few minutes. Then in went the oysters and just cooked. We garnished it with a nice crispy crostini with a dollop of salsa verde on it, which once stirred into the soup added a nice herbal element. This recipe is a keeper – next time it will be measured to the gram and will go in the BOOK.