Regional Cuisine New England Clam Chowder

Regional Cuisine New England Clam Chowder

Regional Cuisine – New England Clam Chowder
Sea air, crisp apples, the​ brisk, spice of​ fallen leaves – there are few things that say autumn in​ New England like the​ scents that seem to​ buffet the​ senses from everywhere .​
Among those marvelous treats for​ the​ senses are popular dishes from appetizer to​ dessert that you just won’t find – or​ at​ least won’t find quite the​ same way – anywhere else in​ the​ country .​
If you doubt it, there’s always an​ ad that was popular this past autumn – after the​ Red Sox won the​ World Series .​
In it, a​ man was explaining, Son, when you live in​ New England there are three basic truths.. .​
clam chowder is​ white…
And the​ other two truths don’t matter .​
We New Englanders take our clam chowder seriously .​
Up and​ down the​ New England coast throughout the​ autumn, nearly every town and​ township has its Chowder Festival .​
Throughout the​ six states, restaurants cook up pots of​ chowder from their best recipes and​ compete to​ be named Best Clam Chowder .​
The granddaddy of​ all New England Chowder Festivals is​ held in​ Newport, Rhode Island, where dozens of​ area restaurants compete for​ the​ title of​ ‘America’s Best Clam Chowder’ .​
It’s a​ simple enough dish, but like chili in​ Texas and​ crab cakes in​ Maryland, every cook has their own special twist on the​ recipe .​
There are the​ basics: clams, potatoes and​ milk .​
From there, it’s every chef for​ himself .​
Some swear that clam chowder without salt pork is​ just potage .​
Others insist that clam chowder can’t be made without onion .​
Chefs nearly come to​ blows over whether heavy cream should ever be used and​ why a​ butter and​ flour roux is​ a​ better base than clam liquor .​
Secret recipes abound – and​ everyone has their favorites.
My own personal favorite is​ the​ thick, creamy, eat-it-with-a-fork variety of​ clam chowder served at​ Legal Seafood and​ Au Bon Pain in​ Boston .​
Rich and​ laden with chunks of​ potato, meaty bits of​ clam, onions, garlic and​ salt pork, it’s a​ meal rather than an​ opener for​ one .​
Served with a​ slab of​ homemade bread slathered with butter, it’s guaranteed to​ raise your cholesterol level and​ please your taste buds for​ hours .​
While many chefs cry sacrilege, others believe that fresh corn adds the​ perfect touch of​ crisp sweetness to​ the​ rich broth and​ pungent bits of​ clam meat .​
Corn isn’t the​ only bone of​ contention when it​ comes to​ this regional specialty .​
Purists insist that the​ only real ingredients in​ clam chowder are clams, water, milk, onions, potatoes and​ butter .​
They argue whether chowder should be made with mussels or​ littlenecks (if you’re in​ Maine, it’s littlenecks – in​ Connecticut, mussels .​
Anywhere else – it​ varies), whether to​ add the​ clam bellies or​ just the​ necks, even whether clams should be steamed ‘virgin’ or​ with garlic, wine or​ beer.
Whether you like your chowder thick or​ thin, with or​ without corn, flavored with salt pork or​ bacon or​ something else entirely, there is​ one thing on which all New Englanders agree – clam chowder is​ white .​
We’re not sure what it​ is​ that they serve in​ Manhattan – but it’s not clam chowder.

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