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Culinary SOS

Clam Out

August 02, 2000|ROSE DOSTI

DEAR SOS: While on vacation in New England, I ordered a bowl of clam chowder. Like everything else I tasted, the chowder was excellent. Can you obtain a recipe?

TRACY Z. PINELLA

Ventura

DEAR TRACY: The Legal Sea Foods restaurant chain, which provided this recipe, sells 700 gallons of chowder each week, so we know it's popular. The recipe came with a caveat: "Don't try to economize by cutting back on the amount of clams or cream because the chowder will never taste as flavorful as ours."

Use concentrated clam base, found in the soup aisle, or frozen stock for the fish stock.

Legal Sea Foods Clam Chowder

Active Work Time: 30 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 50 minutes

About 6 pounds littleneck clams

1 clove garlic

1 cup water

1/8 pound salt pork, finely chopped

2 cups chopped onions

3 tablespoons flour

3 cups fish stock

1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups whipping cream

Oyster crackers, optional

* Scrub clams well under cold running water. Place in a large pot along with garlic and water. Steam clams just until opened, about 6 to 10 minutes, depending on their size. Drain and shell clams, reserving broth (there should be about 4 cups).

* Mince clam flesh and set aside. Strain clam broth through cheesecloth and set aside.

* In a large soup pot, fry salt pork over medium heat until crisp. Remove cracklings and set aside. Add onions and saute in fat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until cooked through but not browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add reserved clam broth and fish stock and whisk to remove any flour lumps.

* Bring liquid to boil, add potatoes, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in reserved clams, salt pork cracklings and cream. Heat chowder until hot. Serve in large soup bowls with oyster crackers, if desired.

8 servings. Each serving: 401 calories; 475 mg sodium; 116 mg cholesterol; 26 grams fat; 25 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams protein; 0.61 gram fiber.

It's the Dairy

DEAR SOS: We recently attended a private party catered by Cafe Cego's in Rolling Hills Estates. The food was fantastic, but the most memorable item was the scalloped potato dish. Any possibility of obtaining this recipe?

DICK HAYES

Rancho Palos Verdes

DEAR DICK: Cego's sent the recipe, and now we know why it's so good. It's the cream, butter and cheese.

Cafe Cego's Scalloped Potatoes

Active Work Time: 20 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

3 pounds red boiling potatoes, peeled

1 clove garlic

2 cups whipping cream

Salt

White pepper

Ground nutmeg

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

* Slice potatoes 1/8-inch thick in food processor or by hand. Rub bottom and sides of 2-quart (11x7-inch) glass baking dish with garlic clove. Arrange potato slices evenly in dish.

* Whisk cream and salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste in bowl. Pour over potatoes. Sprinkle cheese over potatoes and dot with bits of butter.

* Bake at 375 degrees until browned and bubbly, 50 minutes.

6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings: 409 calories; 268 mg sodium; 97 mg cholesterol; 28 grams fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 0.73 gram fiber.

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