Even though I never balk at a steaming bowl of New England clam chowder, sometimes the cream and other ingredients give the flavor of something other than seafood soup.
Here is something entirely unique.
4 pounds of whole firm-fleshed fish such as Atlantic sea bass, red snapper, Dover sole, pompano, or rockfish, filleted, bones and heads reserved, fillets skinned
2 tablespoons butter
1 small bouquet garni
1 cup dry white wine
2 dozen littleneck clams, or 2 pounds musssels or New Zealand cockles, well scrubbed
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finel chopped chives
Remove the gills from the fish heads and discard the gills. Soak the fish bones and te heads in cold water for at least 2 hours, changing the water every 30 minutes. Cut the fish fillets into 4 or 6 pieces, as close to the same size as possible, and refrigerate.
Cut most of the greens off the leaks, leaving about 4 inches of green attached to the white. Cut the white in half lenghwise and rinse out any sand under running water. Chop fine. Cook the chopped leek gently in butter in a heavy-bottomed pot for about 5 minutes. Drain the fish bones, put them in the pot, add the bouquet garni, and stir every few minutes until the bones fall apart but don't brown, about 15 minutes. Pour in the white wine and 1 cup of water (don't worry if you don't have enough liquid to cover the bones completely) ,cover the pot, and simmer gently over low heat for about 15 minutes. Strain into a clean pot large enough to hold the shellfish. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of liquid.
Put the shellfish in the pot with the fish broth, cover the pot, and cook the shellfish over medium to high heat until they've all opened, about 12 minutes for clams, 5 minutes for mussels or cockles. Scoop the shellfish out of the pot into a bowl and cover the bowl with aluminum boil to keep the shellfish warm and moist. (If you like, take one of the shells off of each of the shellfish so they take up less room on the plate.) If you see sand on the bottom of the pot used for steaming the shellfish, carefully pour the liquid into a clan pot, leaving the sand behind. At this point you should have about 3 cups of liquid. If you have less, add enough water to make 3 cups.
Poach the fish pieces in the steaming liquid-cover the pan if there is not enough liquid to cover-and scoop the pieces out onto hot soup plates. (Or bake the fish pieces) Surround the fish wit the shellfish. Add the cream and herbs to the poaching liquid, season to taste with salt and pepper. Be careful of the salt, the shellfish is very salty. Bring back to a simmer, and spoon the liquid over the fish. Serve immediately.
For the best white clam chowder you will ever try click below.