While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
February 25 is National Clam Chowder Day. While New England doesn’t have a monopoly on clam chowder, it is probably the most recognized regional style of this soup. However, there are many variations of chowders from region to region that are distinctively sourced and flavored.
So that we’re all on the same page, here’s a crash course in clam chowder:
Manhattan Clam Chowder: Tomatoes set this version apart from its New England cousin. They're used in lieu of the cream.
Hatteras Clam Chowder: This favorite from North Carolina's Outer Banks has no cream or tomatoes in it, so the broth is clear.
Minorcan Clam Chowder: Further down the coast in Florida, chowder junkies can’t get enough of this spicy version. It’s tomato-based, like Manhattan-style chowder, and also has corn in it. What sets it apart from other chowders is the addition of a spicy pepper called the datil. They grow readily in northern Florida and give Minorcan chowder a distinctive kick.
As for the clams you’ll see in these different chowders, the most commonly used are littlenecks, longnecks, cherrystones and the quahog varieties. If you’re making chowder at home, use whatever is freshest in your seafood market and you can’t go wrong.