When most of us think of chowder, New England-style fish or clam chowder is what comes to mind, but they are only two of the dozens of home-style chowders you can make from this book. Once you discover the diversity of ingredients you can cook into a chowder and see the scope of styles and colors open to you, you will wonder how we ever came to think there were only one or two chowders in the world.
Authentic chowder is characterized by generous chunks of local seasonal ingredients served in a moderate amount of broth. Another basic characteristic of chowder is its ease of preparation -- even chowders that take more than an hour to make don't require anything more than keeping an eye on the pot. A big pot of chowder is perfect for a large gathering of family and friends, and because chowder truly is best when made ahead, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy your company.
50 Chowders is the first hardcover cookbook to explore the many interpretations of chowders. On the familiar side, you will find a recipe for Corn Chowder explained with the kind of detail that ensures a sweet, mellow broth, succulent chunks of potatoes, and fresh golden kernels of corn. On the exotic side, there is a recipe for San Francisco Crab "Meatball" Chowder, an exciting dish whose deep and robust flavors make it really quite special. Here are a few of the more than fifty other chowders you will find: Shaker Fresh Cranberry Bean Chowder, Nova Scotia Lobster Chowder, Nantucket Veal Chowder, Pacific Northwest Salmon Chowder, and nine different clam chowders.
Among this book's unique features: A chapter of chowder companion dishes, from Parker House Rolls to Buttermilk Biscuits; more than fifty illustrations of important cooking techniques and chowder ingredients; cook's notes for each recipe, giving possible substitutions, required equipment, and serving suggestions; a list of reliable mail-order suppliers of seafood and other chowder ingredients.
Jasper White brings to 50 Chowders the same enthusiasm and flair that made his previous book, Lobster at Home, "like having a Down Easter by your side, distilling years of experience and telling you just what to do" (Corby Kummer of The Atlantic Unbound). With this treasure trove of information and expertise in your kitchen, you will never think of chowder in the same way again.
New England clam, Manhattan red, and corn--that's the chowder story, right? Wrong. In 50 Chowders, award-winning chef Jasper White explores a surprisingly wide range of these savory one-pot meals while also offering chowder history and folklore, in-depth ingredient profiles, cooking tips, and technique instruction. (Did you know that chowder is best "cured" for one hour to three days after it's made to allow flavors to meld?) Probably the last word on the subject, the book delivers the kind of comprehensive culinary profile that enlightens even seasoned cooks. Everyone will find its recipes tempting and approachable. Beginning with a history of chowder--White sets its birth in the 18th century, citing among its possible "inventors" Native Americans, French or English fishermen, or settlers in Canada and Massachusetts--the book then explores typical chowder ingredients such as the all-important salt pork. Recipes follow for classic seafood chowders and for "farmhouse" brews such as Spring-Dug Parsnip, Shaker Fresh Cranberry Bean, and Nantucket Veal. Other chowder newcomers include Digby Bay Scallop Chowder with Cabbage and Bacon, Lightly Curried Mussel Chowder, and Bermuda Fish Chowder, which is served, deliciously, with a pitcher of rum. White also provides a chapter on chowder companions such as common crackers and includes recipes for Cheddar Cheese Biscuits and Skillet Corn Bread, among other go-withs. With eight pages of color photos and numerous technique illustrations, the book gives a humble but essential American dish its full due at last. --Arthur Boehm