According to NY Times Cooking, this Rhode Island rendition is a “Clear clam chowder originating along the southern coast of Rhode Island, where it is a local delicacy much to be preferred over the creamier version of Boston …”
Of course, The NY Times recipe is much more complicated than mine. I use bottled clam juice, canned chopped clams, and small new potatoes unpeeled. In fact my potatoes were multicolored so it did rather spoil the pristine whiteness of the soup. I add two or three tablespoons of heavy cream but you can add more (but not too much!) The recipe is below.
CLAM CHOWDER WITH CROUTON. Serves 3-4
Adapted from a recipe by Gabrielle Hamilton
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 ribs of celery, minced
2 leeks, dark, woody green parts removed, ¼” coins
10 ounces golden new potatoes, medium dice
2 sprigs thyme, picked
2 sprigs tarragon
6 ounces dry white wine
2 bottles/16 ounces clam juice
Juice from 2 cans chopped clams (~8 oz.)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons heavy cream
12 ounces chopped clams (2 cans, reserved liquid, see above)
3-4 slices hearty bread, toasted
In the Dutch oven, heat the olive oil, and add onion, celery, leeks, potatoes, tarragon, and thyme, stirring to coat. Season with salt, and cook over low heat until the vegetables have just started to soften, taking care not to brown, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with white wine and then add the clam juice and reserved clam liquid. Simmer until potatoes are al dente.
Stir in the cream, and simmer until vegetables are cooked through, taking care not to boil. Add the chopped clams, and season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Remove from heat.
Toast the bread until golden, and place each piece in a bowl. Add a ladleful of chowder around the toast. Add another ladleful partially covering toast.