It sounds like a weird combination, but this soup is a tradition in my family. It came from a restaurant that one of my uncles worked at in the ’80s. My mom’s family goes bonkers for it. Especially my great-uncle, who one year, hid the big container that my mom had brought to my grandmother’s for everyone to share at dinner so that he could take it home with him. It’s light and creamy, and the saltiness of the clams works perfectly with the spinach. For me, it brings back strong memories of preparing holiday meals with my mom. Cooking with her is still one of my favorite activities.
It’s an easy recipe, and one that can be tweaked depending on availability of ingredients. The part that takes me the longest is going to multiple grocery stores because the store that carries the big cans of clams and clam juice is not the same one that carries, well, the rest of the ingredients.
For this wonderful deliciousness, you will need:
- 1 medium-ish onion (I use whatever size is handy)
- 1/2 lb of bacon
- 8 anchovies (or a generous squirt of anchovy paste — I recommend the paste because those damn tiny bones from the canned fish are a bitch to remove)
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 2 sticks of butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 quarts clam juice
- 1 large can chopped clams
- 1 quart non-dairy creamer (you can substitute half & half, or light cream. I’ve used both, and it didn’t make too much difference. The non-dairy creamer is cheaper, though.)
- 2 large cello bags of spinach
- salt & pepper to taste
Dice and sauté the bacon, onion, garlic, and anchovies/paste in a stock pot. Add butter and continue cooking on medium-high heat until onions are transparent.
Add 4 tbs flour and mix thoroughly, forming a roux.
Add the clam juice. Bring to a boil.
Add the non-dairy creamer. Return to boil.
Chop the spinach; add spinach and clams to mixture. Simmer on medium for about 10 minutes.
Try not to eat the entire pot in one sitting. Yes, it really is that good.