Newport is busy with visiting guests, drop-by garden aficionados and parties galore. You probably have your own version of this summer fun also. So I thought you might enjoy an easy-to-assemble, spur-of-the-moment entertaining idea that plays off a New England signature favorite– clam chowder. And you can set it up any place — on the beach, by the barbecue, on a mountain top. Plus, it’s a filling, “one-dish meal.” Just add a salad, shrimp cocktail and cheese platter (above)…and chewy sourdough bread… and you have a summer pop-up party!
It’s as easy as 1-2-3
1. Rent a tabletop burner
2. Make the chowder base
3. Gather the fillings
Tip: Chowders, fish stews, summer soups — each is a reason to collect interesting bowls — from vintage “shell” dishes to glazed earthenware to sea treasures and birds hand-painted on porcelain.
Make your own chowder.
The twist in this chowder bar concept is that each guest selects from the ten ingredients that can be added to the original chowder base…one person may only want clams, potatoes and bacon; another guest only seafood (scallops, shrimp, halibut, clams). And then there’s the option of including every ingredient…chopped halibut, baby shrimp, sea scallops, clams, Portugese sausage, bacon, potatoes, red peppers, chives and leeks.
The guest’s personalized chowder is made to order and cooked on the little burner (if this is a big party, you may need more than one tabletop burner).
Don’t forget the oyster crackers…
Last week my sun porch served as the perfect setting for this kind of pop-up party, which requires little space.