miso clam chowder with sesame crackers
photo by Jennifer Johnson
A slight Asian update to a coastal favorite. Both the miso paste and the clams (and broth) add a good bit of salt to the recipe so be sure to use low-sodium vegetable stock if not using homemade.
- Sesame crackers
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 cups oyster crackers
- Sesame seeds
- 3 pounds littleneck clams
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup white wine
- 8 ounces prepared clam juice
- 4 cups homemade (or low-sodium) vegetable stock
- 12 ounces mini Yukon gold potatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, or to taste
- Rice vinegar, optional
- Lemons, optional
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish
- Check clams and make sure none of them are already open. If any are, gently push shells together with your fingers to see if clam will close. If not, discard it. Wash clams one at a time under running water, removing any sand with your fingers (or a small brush). Set aside.
- Make crackers. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- On a baking sheet, add vegetable and sesame oil. Add crackers and, using your hands, toss to evenly coat. Top with sesame seeds and bake for about 5 minutes, until just lightly browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Place a steamer basket in bottom of a large stock pot and add 4 cups water to cover bottom (do not let water enter steamer basket). Bring to a boil. Add clams, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until clams open, 5-10 minutes. Remove clams as they open and set aside. Strain clam water through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large measuring cup and set aside.
- Carefully rinse out pot and return to stove. Add butter and melt over medium heat. Add onions and scallions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, white miso paste, thyme, and bay leaf and cook for another minute.
- Add flour and stir until combined into vegetables, about 1 minute. Slowly add wine, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pan. Add clam juice, reserved clam broth, and stock, stirring to combine. Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until potatoes are fork-tender, 30-40 minutes.
- Once clams are cooled, remove from shells and dice. Discard shells.
- Add clams (and any reserved juices) and cream and continue to cook until chowder has thickened, 5-10 minutes. Taste for flavor and adjust as desired, adding a splash of rice vinegar or lemon juice, if desired. Remove bay leaf and discard. Divide among serving bowls and garnish with parsley and crackers and serve.
cook’s note: Some of the sesame seeds will come off crackers once tossed, so handle them as little as possible to retain seeds. You can also sprinkle a few more on top of crackers just before serving.