Juneau Clam Thai Style Chowder

Posted on March 7, 2012


The Fishes & Dishes Cookbook published by Epicenter Press

It is still snowing outside, sort of. It’s above freezing and I see white falling, but when it hits the ground it becomes water and is flattening out all of the fluffy snow that started falling a couple of days ago. I will get out later for a skate ski, but I’m in no hurry because I know I will be soaked by the time I am done. Our freezer stock is dwindling and I was feeling wistful about the state of our seafood supply but then I remembered that we have a bag of clams in our freezer waiting to be made into chowder. Last month there was a good clamming tide in Juneau and our friends, Marci and Bob, were generous enough to share their score with us. Concerned that we would not get to them before they might spoil, we decided to freeze them for a later date. Well it’s time and I’m glad that I remembered them. Looking for a recipe caused me to return to a cookbook my Mom gave me for Christmas that was produced by three Alaska fisherwomen. The Fishes and Dishes Cookbook was written by Kiyo Marsh, Tomi Marsh and Laura Cooper and is a compilation of “Seafood Recipes and Salty Stories from Alaska’s Commercial Fisherwomen.” The book also has a lot of useful pointers for how to handle your seafood and if you visit The Fishes and Dishes Cookbook website, you will find other tips and how you might order the book online.

Thai Clam Chowder from The Fishes and Dishes Cookbook

I was excited to find a Thai rendition of Clam Chowder in the book and even more happy to find that green curry is used as the primary flavor base because I feel that green curry goes especially well with seafood. The ingredients and preparation do not look particularly complicated or fussy and the only item that I am concerned about finding in Juneau is lemongrass.  See above for the recipe and preparation.

Montinore Estate Willamette Valley Gewürtztraminer

I already had a wine pairing in mind, but when I poked around the cookbook website there was a resource for pairing almost every recipe, if not all, with wine. The suggested pairing for the Thai Clam Chowder was a dry Gewürtztraminer from California. I had in mind to pair the chowder with Montinore Estate Willamette Valley Gewürtztraminer because I have paired the wine successfully with Thai inspired seafood dishes, with and without green curry, in the past. The wine has the slightest hint of sweet that I think will nicely balance out the mildly hot spice element that the curry provides. The trade tasting notes for the current release vintage, 2010, say the Gewürtztraminer “is very aromatic with notes of fresh ripe pear, yellow apple and a pleasant floral/ herbal accent. On the palate it bursts into flavors of ripe honeydew melon with hints of mango overlaying ripe apple and pear characteristics. The long finish is dry, fresh and crisp with a sweet/tart apple essence and distinct mineral qualities.” The wine is readily available in Alaska and at $15 a bottle, is a good value for its quality.  It is also Demeter Biodynamic Certified.

Warm and spicy soup will be most welcome after a wet ski.