I should have kept Peter's lovely bowls for this application - they were so dramatic and small enough to serve an amuse bouche in style. These little bowls will have to suffice, however, as the girls I gifted Peter's bowls with at Christmas were thrilled and they took them straight home with them.
I made an ersatz clam chowder this week. I had some shrimp stock in the freezer and some organic potatoes that were threatening to sprout in the veggie bin, so I improvised a seafood chowder. We tried it last night as a little starter; these bowls are only an inch or two in diameter. It's not the usual thick, creamy New England clam chowder but it's a beloved cousin to that.
I chopped the better part of a big onion and softened that in butter, then added celery and finely chopped potatoes. When I added the shrimp stock, I also put in a couple of bay leaves to stew with the stock. I added the can of baby clams last, along with the liquor in the can, and let it all simmer for about 20 minutes before pouring in some half and half. I did add about a tablespoon of flour cooked for a few minutes in a like amount of butter to give it a little more body but it wasn't like the gluey clam chowder one gets sometimes in restaurants where they don't know any better and think you can substitute thickness for flavor.
Briny and sweet at the same time, the tender little clams yielded their essence and extra texture to the chowder. The shrimp stock remained staunchly shrimpy despite the addition of the baby clams and clam juice from the can, lending the soup its own individual taste. The vegetables were soft but not limp, giving extra flavor and texture to the whole.
I served the amuse bouches just to taste it but we'll have it for lunch or dinner the next day, when it all has a chance to really meld into a satisfying seafood soup.