Day 54 – Brittany Clam Chowder with Cod

We’re on Day 3 of the wet wet wet saga here in Brittany, but that’s how it goes on holiday.  We usually have a couple of good sunny days and a couple of rainy ones, and we’re always keeping fingers crossed that the sun outweighs the rain.  So far; Sun 2, Rain 3.  And we’re on Clam day 3 too!  As when it’s wet I tend to focus on creating stuff in the kitchen using local produce.  I have scoured the internet, recipe books, and even some of my old ebay purchases for scavenging the seashore (from the States in the 60’s and 70’s).  Basically it all is summed up by Chowders, fritters, and stuffing them (if they’re big enough, not so easy to find at this time of year on the Brittany coastline).  So after reading the interesting seafaring stories in Clam Shack Cookery by Cap’n Phil Schwind (1975) and The Beachcombers Handbook of Seafood Cookery by Hugh Zachary (1969), I opted back to a Rick Stein based recipe for today’s lunch.  Cooked one day ahead, it definitely improves with age, and is great mopped up with a french crusty baguette.  I’ve just cooked the rest of the clams and will try a tomato based clam soup tonight, which is more ‘New York/Manhattan’  based than the creamy concoctions of Maine or New England.


Brittany Clam chowder


Today’s recipe is based on Rick Stein‘s Clam chowder with cod (my Cornish fish hero!) but adapted to Brittany






* 64 small clams (cockles)

* 25g butter

* 100g salt pork or thickly sliced green bacon, cut into small dice

* 200g onions, diced

* 450g potatoes, peeled and diced

* 600ml milk

* 250ml cream (creme fraiche epaisse)

* 2 fresh bay leaves, cut into fine shreds.

* cooking liquid from the clams (keep it limited)

* 400g cod fillet, skinned and cut into 1cm/½ in pieces (I used filet de julienne, but any type of reasonably priced white fish would do)

* freshly ground white pepper

* 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley



1. Wash and scrub the clams then place them in a large pan with a splash of water. Cover tightly and cook over a high heat. As soon as the clams are open, take the pan off the heat and drain them in a colander, saving the cooking liquid in a bowl. When cool enough to handle, remove the clams (cockles) from their shells.

2. Melt the butter in a pan then fry the diced pork or bacon, until it starts to brown. Add the onions and fry until softened.

3. Place the potatoes in a separate large pan with the milk, cream and bay leaf. Bring to the boil then reduce to a slow simmer until just cooked but still firm. Add the pork/bacon, onions and clam cooking liquid and simmer for a further five minutes then add the cod fillet. Simmer until the cod is cooked, then add the clams. Warm through then season with salt (if necessary) and freshly ground white pepper.

4. Pour the chowder into a serving tureen then garnish with the chopped parsley.


adapted from BBC – Food – Recipes : Clam chowder with cod.



3 Responses to “Day 54 – Brittany Clam Chowder with Cod”
  1. Sarah Louise says:

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your lovely comments. Yes that heatlhfood cafe was a great place, I spent 2003- 4 there.
    You will have to let me know how the dip turns out and what you think. It’s almost a sweet spread so a great accompaniment with plain toast or a french baguette peut-etre.

    I really like what you do here and there are some great recipes. I will try this Brittany Chowder sometime. Currently I am in Vancouver, so there is a west-coast chowder with coconut-cream from my favourite fish and chips cafe Go Fish:
    I see you spend a lot of time in France. It’s my dream to live there one day.

    ~ Sarah

  2. Hi Sarah

    Planning to try your dip this weekend, as finally feeling good enough to face the world again. The cold really knocked me out this week. Your fish restaurant sounds fab, you are so lucky. In Brussels we have good fish restaurants but sooo expensive, I often wait for my fish fix til we are in Brittany. France is great, food and wine wonderful, and we often wish we could spend more time there too. But careers keep us in Belgium for the moment…

    take care, Lizzi

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