clam chowder with spinach and dill

prep time:  tbd
cook time:  tbd

48 small clams, well rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tabespoon butter
2 cups diced onion
2 cups diced leek
2 bay leaves
1 large thyme sprig
6 ounces thick-sliced smoked bacon
2 pounds potatoes - peeled and diced
1/2 pound spinach - cooked briefly, squeezed dry and chopped
8 tablespoons creme fraiche
zest of one small lemon
2 tablespoons chopped dill
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions

1.  put clams in a large deep skillet and add 4 cups water.  cover tightly with lid and bring to a boil over high heat.  reduce heat to medium-high and continue cooking until all calms have opened, about 5 minutes.  remove lid and let clams cool.  shuck clams, discarding shells, and reserve in small bowl.  strain broth through a fine-meshed sieve.  keep warm over low heat.

2.  put olive oil and butter in a wide heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat.  add onion and leek, season with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  add bay leaves and thyme sprig and cook for 5 minutes more.

3.  meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot.  cut bacon crosswise into 1/2-inch lardons.  simmer lardons for 2 minutes, then drain.  add lardons to soup pot, along with potatoes.  season generously, stir to coat and cook for 1 minute.

4.  add 3 1/2 cups warm clam broth and bring pot to a boil.  reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 7 - 10 minutes.  check seasoning.

5.  just before serving,k add reserved shucked clams, stir in spinach and heat through.  stir together creme fraiche and lemon zest and season to taste.  ladle soup into wide bowls.  add a tablespoon of creme fraiche mixture to each bowl and sprinkle with dill and scallions.

- new york times, october 2013

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