Cod and Clam Chowder With Smoky Oyster Crackers


This tasty remix of a traditional chowder recipe is refreshingly modern thanks to beautiful in-shell littleneck clams that cozy up alongside chunks of tender cod.

Cod and clam chowder served with crackers in a bowl against a purple background
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Hands On Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
6 serves

Leeks and fennel join in with onion to make and deeply aromatic base, and you’ll infuse the broth with a generous dose of wine and clam juice to add acidity and umami flavor. And did we mention the buttered-and-spiced oyster crackers that top each bowl? They’re baked with garlic powder and smoked paprika—a highly delicious combination that adds excitement to each bite. All of this means a bowl of this soup is deeply satisfying and hearty.


  • Crackers

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 cups oyster crackers

  • Chowder

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 medium leeks (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced

  • 1 1-pound fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

  • 24 ounces bottled clam juice

  • 12 ounces red potatoes, diced

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

  • 1 ¼ pounds cod fillets, cut into 3-in. pieces

  • 14 littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives


  1. Make the crackers: Preheat oven to 275 F. Whisk butter, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl. Add crackers; toss well. Spread in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 18 minutes. Let cool on sheet.

  2. Meanwhile, make the soup: Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high. Add leeks, fennel, onion, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring to loosen browned bits, for 2 minutes. Add clam juice, potatoes, and thyme; bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in cod and clams. Cover and cook until fish is opaque and clams have opened, 4 to 5 minutes (discard any clams that do not open). Stir in cream. Top each serving with chives and crackers.

Chef's Notes

To prep the clams, soak them in cold water for 20 minutes, then use a scrub brush to remove any grit on the shells.

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