Tiny Kitchen Recipes: Clam chowder from the Grand Central Oyster Bar
Warm up with a bowl of hearty New England clam chowder from the historic midtown spot’s new cookbook
Wed Oct 23 2013
Photograph: Iain Bagwell
New England clam chowder from The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant Cookbook
Welcome to Tiny Kitchen Recipes, a feature in which we ask chefs, writers, and food bloggers in New York City and beyond to share a recipe with us. Always wallet-friendly, these creations are feasible whether you live to cook or recently stopped using your oven for shoe storage.
This year, the legendary Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant—along with the bustling transit hub that houses it—celebrates its centennial. The old-guard spot has been serving New England clam chowder for at least 40 years. "On a cold winter day, we can sell as many as 550 bowls of it," says the eatery's new cookbook, released last week. Read on for an easy-to-follow recipe for the classic East Coast seafood dish.
New England clam chowder from The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant Cookbook by Sandy Ingber and Roy Finamore
FOR THE BASE
- 1 tbsp salted butter
- 1 tbsp corn oil
- 1 3/4 cups (about 7 ribs) diced celery
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 3/4 cups clam juice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp fish base or granulated fish bouillon
- 2 cups (about 12 oz) peeled, diced waxy potatoes (red-skinned or long whites)
FOR THE ROUX AND SLURRY
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
FOR FINISHING THE CHOWDER
- 1/2 cup light cream
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 packed cup drained, chopped surf clams (see Note)
- Oyster crackers for serving
Cut the vegetables for the base into 1/2-inch dice.
TO MAKE THE BASE: Put the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the celery and onion, and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Don’t let the onion brown.
TO MAKE THE ROUX AND SLURRY: Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to make a smooth paste. Cook, stirring, until the roux bubbles; cook 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir to make a completely smooth slurry.
TO FINISH THE CHOWDER: Bring the base to an active simmer. Add the pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the roux, then stir in the slurry. Keep stirring until the base returns to an active simmer, then reduce the heat and let it bubble gently for 15 minutes. Add the light and heavy creams and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, stir in the clams, and serve. Pass the oyster crackers at the table.
NOTE: Atlantic surf clams have a sweet, delicate flavor, but you can use any clams for this chowder. Shuck them over a bowl and save the juice to use in the base. If you’re using canned clams, drain them and use the juice.
Makes about 8 cups (for 6 to 8 servings)
This recipe is reprinted from Sandy Ingber and Roy Finamore'sThe Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant Cookbook (Stewart, Tabori & Chang).