Mediterranean clam chowder

Total Time
40 min
20 min
20 min
Filled with all the flavors of the briny Manhattan clam chowder, but this version has the added Mediterranean flavors of fennel, olives, capers, and lemon. This hearty vegetable-packed chowder gets a double dose of clam flavor thanks to canned clam juice and canned clams, which we use for ease and convenience. Fennel becomes silky when cooked in this chowder. When selecting a fennel bulb, choose ones the feel heavy for their size and have layers that are tightly packed without blemishes or soft spots. Purchase a bulb with the tender, feathery fronds still attached—they should look fresh and green—and chop them up to use as a pretty garnish for this chowder.


Olive oil

4 tsp


1½ cup(s), chopped

Uncooked onion(s)

1 medium, chopped

Uncooked carrot(s)

1 medium, chopped

Uncooked celery

1 rib(s), medium, chopped

Hot water

3½ cup(s)

Canned stewed tomatoes

8 oz, coarsely chopped, with their juice

Canned clam juice

1 cup(s), or fish broth

Uncooked potato(es)

1 medium, peeled and chopped

Fresh thyme

1½ tsp, fresh, chopped, or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried

Fresh oregano

1½ tsp, fresh, chopped, or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried

Black pepper

tsp, freshly ground, or to taste

Canned clams

6½ oz, minced


6 large, or 10 small black olives, pitted and chopped


2 Tbsp, drained

Lemon zest

½ tsp, grated, (the colorful part of rind)

Fresh lemon juice

1 tsp


  1. Heat a large nonstick saucepan. Swirl in the oil, then add the fennel, onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 2 1⁄2 cups of the hot water, the tomatoes, clam juice or fish broth, potato, thyme, oregano, and pepper; simmer, adding more hot water 1⁄2 cup at a time, until the potatoes and vegetables are tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Stir in the clams with their juice, the olives, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Cook until heated through (do not boil); serve at once. Yields 1 1/2 cups per serving.