March 17th, 2009


Saffron Clam and Corn Chowder

I love spring, today is a bright and sunny day, a bit chilly but its great as long as its sunny. I even noticed the daffodils popping up everywhere. The signs of spring signify the awakening of a new year and makes me happy. As a small celebratory token I made this delicious saffron clam and corn chowder.

The name is a bit clunky and you perhaps expect a chunky broth; but I thought why not tame the butch name with this elegant and dainty version. It’s a pretty dish, perfect as a starter for mothers day.

This pretty saffron clam and corn chowder reminds me of the daffodils standing proud under the trees on the village green. It’s not just pleasurable to the eye as the corn soup is packed with flavour and nicely finished with a tiny kiss of saffron. I also love the textures the crispness of the saute potatoes, the soft plump flesh of the clams and the velvety smooth richness of the soup.

Finishing the small towers of clams, potatoes and corn cream with small sprigs of pea shoots and chervil gives the dish a fresh flavour that compliments this very pretty dish. Prepare the dish by presenting the bowls with the towers of clams and then serve the soup in small jugs so that the diners can pour their own soup, I love the interaction and I think it will certainly feature on my menu for this coming Sunday.


Steamed Clams
  • 750g fresh small clams cleaned and beards removed (discard any which do not close when tapped)
  • 1 banana shallot, finely sliced
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 150ml    vegetable or fish stock
  • ½ clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 large sprig of thyme

Heat a large pan until hot and add the olive oil, sliced shallots, garlic and thyme. Sauté for 4 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently.

In a separate small saucepan bring the stock to the boil.

Turn the heat up on the large saucepan, add the clams and pour the wine and hot stock over the clams, cover with a lid. Cook for 2 -3 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time, until the clams have opened. Discard any clams which remain closed.

Place a colander over a large bowl; empty the clams and liquid into the colander.

Pour the stock through a fine sieve and set aside.

Pick the clam meat from the shells, discard the shells and shallots.

Cool the picked clams over ice and keep refrigerated until needed.

Roasted Corn Cream
  • 2 corncobs
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 200ml clam stock
  • 50ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Rub the corn on the cob with the olive oil and seasoning.

Place the corn on a baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and roast for 20 minutes until the kernels are tender.

Remove the kernels with a sharp serrated knife.

Puree the corn kernels with the stock until smooth and creamy. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

Place the cream in a small container and keep refrigerated until needed.

Clam and Corn Soup
  • 300g frozen sweet corn kernels, defrosted
  • 500g fish stock or left over clam stock
  • 50g double cream
  • 100g smoked bacon trimmings, chopped
  • Small pinch of saffron
  • 10ml dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 banana shallot, finely sliced
  • 1tbs unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan bring the stock to a gentle simmer with the saffron, let the stock infuse.

While the stock is infusing heat a medium saucepan with the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the finely sliced shallot, chopped smoked bacon, seasoning and the bay leaf. Sweat the shallot and bacon until tender and it starts to brown.

Add the defrosted sweet corn kernels and cook for 3 minutes. Stir frequently.

Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the stock cover the saucepan with a lid and bring the soup to the simmer.

Cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add the cream, stir and remove the bay leaf.

Blend the soup until very smooth, I use a thermomix for this stage, as I like a very smooth and velvety soup. Pass the soup through a fine sieve, if the soup is too thick at this stage add a bit more cream or stock.

Chill the soup over ice and keep refrigerated until needed.

Assembling the dish
  • 200g very finely sliced leeks
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 1tsp chopped chervil and chives
  • Cooked chilled clams
  • Small sprigs of chervil and pea shoots
  • Roasted corn cream
  • Clam and corn soup
  • 6 medium new potatoes, boiled with skins on
  • 1tbs unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper

Warm 4 serving bowls. Heat the roasted corn cream and bring the soup to the boil.

Slice the boiled new potatoes in 5mm thick slices to make at least 20 slices of potatoes. Heat a frying pan with the butter and sauté the potatoes until golden brown and crispy on both sides, drain them on kitchen paper.

Heat a small saucepan with the olive oil and sweat the finely sliced leeks until tender but no colour. Add the chilled clams and heat until the clams are warm all the way through. Stir in the 1tsp chopped chervil and chives.

Spoon 5 teaspoons of roasted corn cream on each plate, top with the crispy sautéed potatoes and spoon teaspoons full of clams on top of each potato. Divide the clams between the four plates.

Use a stick blender to aerate the soup until frothy, pour the frothy soup around the potato and clam towers. Garnish each with small sprigs of pea shoots and chervil.

Serves 4

Food Fanatics Tip

For a special effect, serve the bowls with the potato and clam towers and pour the soup in small jugs and let the guest pour their own soup at the table.

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One Comment to “Saffron Clam and Corn Chowder”

  1. Fantastic and cute. But this recipe is really big as it is composed of several sections which are separate recipes. It will take a little while for me to totally make it clear. Don’t worry. I will do that because I am definitely want to enjoy them.

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