Dad Perkins’ Clam Chowder

So, in case you didn’t already know, my dad, Frank Perkins, was a professional chef (as was his dad).

Growing up with a chef as a parent is a mixed blessing. On one hand, my old man could throw down some amazing food. On the other hand, after putting in 60 or 70 hours a week on the line…the last thing he wanted to do at home, was cook.

That meant that if I wanted in on the good stuff, I had to go to the restaurant, which meant that my dad got free slave labor, and a grunt that couldn’t hire a labor-lawyer when he’d smack me in the head with a ladle for not having enough “hustle.”

Still, it must have been pretty epic food, ’cause I kept coming back for. more Maybe I just wasn’t too bright.

Let’s say it was the food.

That little rant has absolutely nothing with today’s post or recipe, but it’s my blog and if I want to whine about my childhood once in a while, I can.


One of the recipes that brought me back, time and again, was Dad’s clam chowder. This stuff was freakin’ famous. Dishwashers would work a second shifts, and owners would come in of their day’s off just to get a couple of bowls. A steady stream of compliments and tips always flowed from the front of the house, on chowder night.

Dad’s workin’ that big six-top in the sky now…so the threat of getting smacked with a kitchen implement has somewhat lessened, and I’ve worked up the courage to post his extremely popular and guarded recipe.

Just a note: it wasn’t a standard part of the recipe, but when the mood would take him, dad might add some saffron, a pinch of cayenne chili powder, to the mix, and maybe even finish the bowl with a sprinkling of crisp-fried cracklins.

If he tossed in some fresh steamed baby oysters and green mussels, it became seafood chowder.

FYI…nothing even remotely healthy about this recipe, and if you try to substitute olive oil for the butter, low-fat milk for the 1/2 & 1/2, or some other act of sacrilege and profanation, I hope the old man comes back and smacks you with a ladle.

To quote my sweet old father…”You want healthy? Go home and make a friggin’ salad.”


-Chef Perry

Clam Chowder RecipeDad Perkins’ Clam Chowder

1 1/2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 lg onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
dash of red pepper flake
4 anchovy fillets, diced
1/2 lb fresh bay scallops
1/2 cup flour
2 cups bottled clam juice
32 oz chopped clams
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Gen 4, gathering clams

Rinse potatoes, halve, cover with chicken broth, and bring to simmer. (Add water to cover, if necessary).

Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and saute garlic and onion until softened. Add red and black pepper, scallops, and anchovies, and continue to cook, stirring, until scallops are just done, about 5 minutes.

Remove scallops and set aside. Increase heat and add flour to skillet, stirring to create roux. Allow flour to cook, stirring often, until four begins to brown and smells nutty.

Slowly add 2 cups of clam juice, stirring constantly to keep the roux smooth, next add 1/2 & 1/2, again stirring.

If you’re using canned clams, reserve the liquid and add it now, to bring broth to desired consistency. If not, add enough water to do so. Add parsley, and cook at a bare simmer, 10-15 minutes.

While broth is simmering, remove cooked potatoes from water, and allow to cool slightly. Quarter.

Add cooked potatoes, scallops, and clams to broth and stir. Cook 5 more minutes, and serve hot with hot baguette slices.

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