Sunday, July 3, 2011

an attempt at Hog Oyster's clam chowder and grilled cheese

please tell me you've had Hog Island Oyster Co's grilled cheese sandwich. their clam chowder at least? i mean the clam chowder is on the 2010 7x7 Magazine's list of Top 100 Things You Must Eat Before You Die so if you have yet to try it you probably should get on that task before your fateful last day. i don't even eat oysters but i've been to Hog Island plenty of times to reunite with the combo of the creamiest grilled cheese and pleasantly light clam chowder.

one day my cousin, Eva, figured that we could probably find both recipes online and make it at home. the task of finding a recipe for the clam chowder was easier than we thought. it was waiting for us on their website just ready for people to attempt. the grilled cheese was relatively easy as well. Eva found a recipe that seemed pretty legit so we went with it.

on a sun shiny Saturday afternoon we headed to the Ferry Building with our good friend Libby to gather ingredients. Acme bread, Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, pancetta from the market, etc. only the best for our chowder and grilled cheese.....well.....until it came to the clams. the recipe asks for 6lbs of Hog Island manila clams but after buying all of the other ingredients we decided that buying that many clams would be ridiculously expensive for an at home chowder. we headed to good ol' Safeway in search of clams but lucky us (sarcastic) they didn't have any. soooo we unfortunately had to use canned clams. oh the horror!!! don't feel too bad for us though, it still came out really good!

adaptation of Hog Island Oyster Co clam chowder

- 1/3 lb pancetta, sliced
- 1/2 celery stalk, thinly sliced
- 2 large leeks (white part only), thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 large yellow potatoes, chopped bite size
-  1 1/2 cans of clams (i hate that we had to use canned clams. it's so unappealing, but it got the job done. i can't even remember the size of the cans but the equivalent was something like a cup worth)
- 1 c heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste

1. in a large pot boil 5-6 c water with potatoes until al dente
2. while potatoes are boiling, in a second pot, melt butter with thyme
3. cook pancetta with the butter thyme mixture until fat is rendered off
4. add leeks and celery to pot and cook until translucent
5. add carrots and cook until tender
6. add potatoes and 4 c of potato water
7. add heavy cream and clams and bring to a simmer until everything is heated through
8. add salt and pepper to taste

Libby, proud of her new found slicing skills


at this point Eva's apt. smelled amazing

this came out tasting as close to Hog Island's clam chowder as much as i could imagine for a home cooked version. it was really good! i'll pat myself on the back for that one.

grilled cheese

- one slab of Acme onion ciabatta
- 2 tbs butter, room temp
- 4 oz fromage blanc
- 4 oz Gruyere, coarsly shredded
- 4 oz Cheddar, coarsly shredded
- 4 oz Havarti, coarsly shredded

1. slice onion ciabatta into 4 pieces and butter the outside
2. fill each portion for 1/4 of each type of cheese
3. panini press it!!

glorious cheeses!!

now i know that it's possible to make both the Hog Island grilled cheese and the clam chowder at home, however i think the next time i want it i'll just make my way over to the Ferry Building. after buying four types of cheeses and all the other ingredients, it ends up costing quite a bit. now i know why they charge nearly $15 for a bowl of clam chowder and $12 for a grilled cheese sandwich. it was fun trying, nonetheless. 

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