Seafood “Quartet” Chowder

When it comes to seafood you usually get two kinds of people, those who love it or those who hate it. I fall into the category of those how love it. I will eat anything that comes out of the water and have never understood people that cant stand seafood. It’s so good and there are so many ways to cook it, as well as so many different dishes that can be made. Seafood has so many different flavors and tastes and things you can do with it. I just don’t get when someone condemns it all. But to each their own I guess. This past weekend I got a craving for clam chowder but while there are a few seafood places in San Antonio to get seafood there aren’t many to get a really good homemade chowder. So I set out to come up with my own recipe and in the process I just went crazy and decided it needed more seafood. This chowder has shrimp, clams, crab and crawfish and is so good that it sings in your mouth when you take a bite (get it Seafood Quartet)…

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Anyway. Here is how I did it. (Yes I did have to use some canned ingredients just because finding fresh ingredients like clams is hard to do in the land locked city of San Antonio).

Ingredients:

1/2 lb Shrimp (peeled/devained and cut in to small pieces)

1/2 lb crawfish tail meat chopped into small pieces

1 can whole clams (drained but keep the juice for cooking)

1/4 lb crab meat (not imitation)

3 medium sized white potatoes (cut into small cubes)

3 celery stalks sliced into small pieces

1 yellow onion diced into small pieces

1 bottle of clam juice (can usually be found on the canned meat aisle in your grocery store)

3 table spoons ground black pepper

2 table spoons course sea salt

2 bay leaves

4 slices thick sliced bacon (applewood smoked is preferred)

2 tablespoons of butter

1 pint of heavy cream

all purpose flour (2 or 3 tablespoons)

Cooking

In a large pot you will want to cook the bacon crisp and then remove it to a paper towel covered plate to drain off excess grease. Drain as much grease as you can from the pot without removing the little bits that come off during frying (leaving some grease is fine).

Now add the butter to the pot and let melt on medium heat. Add the Onion and celery to the pot and cook until the start to turn clear.

Now add the potatoes and pour in the clam clam juice (enough to come to the top of the potatoes). Stir in the two bay leaves and increase the heat to high and boil until the potatoes start to soften up.

Now add in all of the seafood (shrimp, clams, crawfish and crab) and reduce heat to medium. Now chop up the bacon into small pieces and stir into the pot. When the shrimp all turn pink go ahead and reduce heat to low and let it cool for a few minutes before moving to the next step.

You are now ready to add the heavy cream. Start stirring it in a little at a time until the whole pot is a nice thick milky color. Now add the salt and pepper and stir in really good and let simmer on low for a few minutes. to thicken it up a bit you will want to add a little bit of flour in at a time. Start with a couple of tablespoons and stir it in until it is completely mixed in to the chowder. Do this a couple more times until you get the desired consistency. Some people may like it thicker or thinner than others, I personally like a thick chowder. Keep in mind that it will thicken up a little as it cools too so you may not want to add a lot of flour or it could come out to thick.

Now you are ready to serve it up and enjoy. It would be great with a nice Cesar salad or garlic bread. I served mine with a crispy garlic, basil gnocchi and it was great.

Thanks for read

JMW

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Clear Springs Restaurant

Great

Pretty Good ***

OK

No Thanks

I have not done a review in a bit so here we go.

I heard about this little seafood place called Clear Springs Restaurant from a friend on Facebook and immediately went online to check out the menu. Well on the home page was this picture of a giant stack of home-made onion rings, so that made me decide to go and try it all by itself. For those of you that read my blog you know I am a sucker for a good onion ring. I checked to see where they were located and was happy to see that there are several locations and one was not to far from me out 1604 near the Stone Oak area in a little place called Afton Oaks. There is also one in the New Braunfels area but this one was closer to me and I was feeling a little to lazy to do any extra driving (it was Sunday after all).

When you walk in the door you can tell that these people are all about their fish. The inside is a neat mix of fishing cabin and antique store. They have old antique toys, fishing polls, and mounted fish scattered around the rafters and old west movie and TV posters hanging on the walls. The floors, tables and chairs are all wood to give it that rustic feel and it is a relatively spacious place inside.

The menu of course has many seafood items from catfish to fried oysters but also has a few steak selections for the non fish eaters of the world. To start out I of course ordered the onion rings to sample. The waitress was nice enough to suggest a small order so I wouldn’t fill up on them, but to my surprise a small order was huge. I have had some great onion rings in my time and I would count these among them. I would have to rank them in the top five best onion rings I have ever tried. The breading was flaky and crunchy and the onions themselves were easy to bite through and melted in your mouth. They were perfectly seasoned and to be honest I probably could have made a meal off just them but I did come here for fish after all so I placed my order for the main course. I ordered a 3 combo platter where you can choose between several different entree’s. I chose catfish, fried oysters, and fried crawfish.  The platter also came with borracho beans, hush puppies, french fries and cole slaw which to my surprise actually tasted like cole slaw and not that typical bland cabbage with a little vinegar tossed on it that you usually find in Texas. This was creamy and actually pretty tasty. The fries were your standard french fries, nothing special but not bad overall. I guess after those onion rings I would have a hard time judging anyone’s fries. The beans were good and tasted like every other borracho bean you can get in San Antonio, so nothing special. I cant really comment on the hush puppies as my dining companion stole those from me but they looked good. When it came to the three entrees I tried the crawfish first. While I have had better these were pretty good. My only complaint was that they were a tad on the chewy side but it is pretty hard to avoid that. Next I moved on to the oysters and was pleasantly surprised. The breading was crunchy and the oysters were flavorful and melted in your mouth. Now on to the main event, the catfish. Being a southern boy from Florida I have to tell you that I am kind of a fried catfish snob. I have had it cooked many different ways and even cook it myself so it is hard to impress me with catfish. Well I will say that this catfish is pretty good. It has a nice flavor and is seasoned good. It also has a crunchy breading while leaving the fish nice a flaky on the inside. I would not say it is the best I have ever had but it was far from the worst too. I would rate it around a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 and would definitely go back again. Overall it was a pretty good meal but the onion rings are the clear winner this round. If nothing else I recommend going just to try them.


So if you are in the mood for good seafood in a down home type of settings this is the place to go.

Thanks for reading

JMW