makes 4 servings
4 thick slices streaky bacon, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
3 dozen littleneck clams, shucked and chopped, with liquor reserved
2 cups water
½ cup dry vermouth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 medium red potato, peeled and diced
4 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
In a 4- to 5-quart pot, fry the bacon over moderate heat till crisp, drain on paper towels, and crumble. Pour all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot, add the onion and celery, and stir till softened, about 5 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the reserved clam liquor, the water, vermouth, and tomato paste and add to the onion mixture. Add the potato, tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper, stir well, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer till the potato is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the clams, stir well, cover, and continue to simmer 2 to 3 minutes. (Do not overcook the clams.)
To serve, ladle the hot chowder into heavy soup plates or bowls and sprinkle crumbled bacon over the tops.
bacon recipe courtesy of: The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Around the World for Everyone's Favorite Food by James Villas. Wiley, 2007