I bet many people had no clue that there was such a thing as clam juice.
("Packed at the peak of freshness" has got to be a good thing in this instance.)
It adds a nice, briny seafood flavor, and can be found in bottles at the grocery store.
Although I don't know how popular clam juice is...
But I do sort of wonder how fast it flies off the shelves.
As far as juices go, I imagine this one suffers from a somewhat underwhelming popularity.
And I wonder how many clams it takes to fill an 8 oz. bottle of clam juice.
Is it a lucrative industry, or is it a side business- the clam meat was taken and the juice is poured off and bottled because it was just there to be taken?
And whose idea was this in the first place?
And while clam chowder is great (and one would probably use clam juice for it), I don't know that I've ever actually cooked with clams myself. Perhaps this is due to the general lack of extremely fresh shellfish in the midwest.
The texture of crab is nicer than the texture of clams, more accessible, and I think easier for more people to deal with. Plus the flavor is sweeter, less seafood-y.
The original recipe came from friends, but I've made a few changes.
Crab Corn Soup
1/3 c (5 1/3 T) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
3 T flour
2, 8 oz. bottles clam juice
2 c chicken or vegetable stock
2 c fresh corn (the kernels cut from about 2 cobs, or 2 c frozen corn kernels)
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t (generous if you're so inclined) cayenne pepper
1 t salt
1 c heavy cream
1 c light cream (half and half)
16 oz (1 lb.) crab meat
4 scallions (green onions) thinly sliced
Optional for serving: a splash of Sherry or Vermouth per bowl (I prefer Sherry)
Melt butter over medium heat in a heavy, 4-6 qt. pot. Add the onion and garlic and saute until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, stir and cook a few minutes until the mixture is somewhat pasty. Slowly stir in the clam juice and broth and bring the mixture to a boil to thicken. Carefully pour in the corn, add the thyme, pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cream and half and half and continue to simmer 10 minutes. Add the crab meat, cook 10 minutes longer. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Serve garnished with scallions (they really do add some great color, texture and flavor), and Sherry or Vermouth if desired.