Corn and Clam Chowder With Zucchini and Herbs

Corn and Clam Chowder With Zucchini and Herbs

Summer corn and clam chowder is like a clambake in a bowl, emphasizing the sweetness of each ingredient. To give the chowder a somewhat Italian slant and to magnify the corn flavor, a handful of polenta is used to thicken the broth slightly, as is the case with certain Tuscan vegetable soups. Steam your own clams, if possible, or buy chopped clams from the fishmonger.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 6 persons



  1. Step 1

    Set up a clam steamer, or put about 2 inches of water in a large pot with a lid, place over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Step 2

    Steam open clams over high heat, covered. Large clams will take about 12 minutes. When cool, shuck the clams. Strain and reserve all clam broth, leaving any sand or grit in the bottom of the pot. Chop meat roughly and set aside. To save time, do this step in advance. (If using chopped clams, skip Step 1 and 2.)
  3. Step 3

    Put olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery, season generously with salt and pepper and cook until softened, 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Step 4

    Add garlic, red pepper and thyme. Stir and let sizzle briefly, then add polenta and stir to coat. Gradually add the water, stirring constantly with a wire whisk as mixture begins to thicken, then add clam broth and bring to a boil. It should now look brothy and just barely thickened.
  5. Step 5

    Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, until polenta grains have softened.
  6. Step 6

    Add potatoes to pot and simmer until just done, 12 to 15 minutes. Taste soup and adjust seasoning. Add more clam broth, if necessary.
  7. Step 7

    Add corn and zucchini and simmer 5 minutes until zucchini is tender. Add chopped clams and cook 2 minutes more.
  8. Step 8

    To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls. Squeeze some lime juice into each portion and top with a dollop of crème fraîche. Sprinkle with parsley and oregano.