Daniel Labbée Sullivan and his beautiful wife Mary Patricia (née Brennan) were welcome visitors at Springy Banks last week.  When Danny and MP come to town a big ol' cauldron of the planet's best clam chowder is always a certainty.




Dan is of course the conduit of the seminal quahog chowder, the legendary Buttonwoods Chowder recipe. 

We set out in the early a.m., shortly after low-tide, the late September waters of Three Mile Harbor still comfortably warm.  A pair of swans took interest in the goings-on. These majestic beasts can be remarkably hostile but on this calm morning clam diggers and swans co-existed peacefully. Hmm… maybe a treif-sharing summit — clams and pork — in the Middle East could help ease tensions in that region. Or maybe not. Hey Hillary, it's just a thought. 


One hour and 42 large quahogs later, we were ready to return home to fulfill the destiny of these beautiful bivalves.

Oddly, the requisite pork fat back was not to be obtained for love nor money. So, given a choice between Irish Bacon and Pancetta, the maestro chose… Pancetta! Naturally we all thought the smart money was on the Irish Bacon but Dan's surprising cross-cultural Italian option won the day — and won the chowder. 

We at Spectacularly Delicious stand firm in our conviction that the only quahog or clam chowders worth their salt are made with freshly dug quahogs — or chowder clams if you prefer, we're not that picky about nomenclature.  Both terms apply to the large East Coast hard-shell clams required.

And can one ever know without any shred of doubt their freshness without plucking them from their heretofore uneventful lives oneself?

The waters in the bays should be warm for a few more weeks still so get out your clam rakes and get digging while the digging is good.

Click here for the original Buttonwoods Quahog Chowder recipe.

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Written by on September 28, 2011 under Fish and Seafood, Soups.

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