2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced pancetta
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups fennel, diced in 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups fresh corn kernels (2 to 3 cobs)
2 pounds (1 kilogram) clams
2 tablespoons lime juice
Lots of freshly ground pepper
6 fried rounds of pancetta
For the chowder: Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot. Add diced pancetta and sauté for 3 minutes or until slightly crispy. Add onions, potatoes, fennel and garlic, reduce heat and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to boil. Simmer until potatoes are cooked, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add corn kernels and stir together. Add clams. Cover and boil about 3 to 5 minutes or until clams open. Remove clams, cool and shell half the clams. Return all the clams to soup. Salt if needed.; Reheat soup until clams are hot.
For the garnish: Stir in lime juice and coriander. Season. Grind extra pepper on each serving. Garnish with crisp pancetta round and whole leaves of coriander.
Suggested Wine Pairings
A chunky soup likes a chunky wine. The buttery essence of a full-bodied chardonnay bastes the corn while the toasty oak rides with the earthy, crispy-pancetta undercurrent. A glass of creamy stout, such as Guinness, would work nicely, too. - Beppi Crosariol