1kg clams (vongole)
1 tbsp olive oil
250g bacon, fat trimmed, cut into batons
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
1L (4 cups) fish stock
Small bunch thyme leaves, tied with kitchen string
1 bay leaf
500g desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-3cm pieces
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 cup (250ml) pure (thin) cream
500g skinless white fish fillets, deboned (such as ling or blue-eye), cut into 3cm pieces
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley + crusty bread, to serve
Soak clams in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes to remove any grit. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until fat has rendered. Add onion and garlic, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until softened.
Add the flour and stir to coat. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaf and potato, and stir until combined. Season. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes or until potato is almost tender in the centre when pierced with a small, sharp knife.
Stir in the milk and cream, then add the fish. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes or until fish is just cooked.
Drain the clams, add to the pan and cook for a final 3-4 minutes until clams are cooked and shells open.
Ladle chowder into warm bowls and season with freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread to mop up the liquid.