At Saltbox, Ricky Moore wants to break the chowder rules | Food Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

At Saltbox, Ricky Moore wants to break the chowder rules 

Open for eating: Saltbox's clam and tomato chowder

Photo by Alex Boerner

Open for eating: Saltbox's clam and tomato chowder

Ricky Moore wants to change perceptions of what chowder can be.

"Everybody's reference point is that chowder is creamy and thick," explains Moore, the chef and proprietor of Durham's Saltbox Seafood Joint. "I just take the essence of what the seafood is and enhance it. There's no reference point at all."

To wit, he's made Indian-inspired chowders, some with bouillabaisse and others with curry. But there are two maxims for the dish—the chowder must be "chock-full of seafood," he says, and the star of the dish needs to stand tall.

That is quite literally true for Moore's current offering: clam and tomato chowder. When I lifted off the lid after a recent visit, I found myself staring at four top-neck clams with their thick, healthy, heavy shells popped open to show off the seafood inside. They sat high above the dish's colorful mixture of broth, vegetables and spices. That first impression was instantly assuring, a testament to the thoughtfulness of Moore's dishes.

"I started with the shell because I want you to know that they're fresh," Moore explains.

He begins with a sofrito, or paste, made by pureeing celery, shrimp, peppers, garlic, leeks, parsley and other spices, and allows it to dry. Moore then fries the mixture in hot oil. Once it's nearly caramelized, he adds the clams, which open under the heat. The fried paste coats the clams before Moore pours white wine and crushed tomatoes into the pot, which he brings to a simmer. He finishes off the dish with chunks of celery, fennel and onion.

"A lot of times when I do a chowder, I stay away from any additional fillers," says Moore. "I just want people to taste the seafood."

Moore gets his clams from a trusted source in the eastern Carolinas. Whatever it has available is what he'll work with, so his clam and tomato chowder may not be here to stay.

"It's always whatever I have," says Moore. "I may not have some ingredient on hand, so I have to riff on it. I just call them freestyle chowders.

Eat This is a recurring column about great new dishes and drinks in the Triangle. Had something you loved? Email food@indyweek.com.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Chowder rules"

  • Moore wants to change chowder expectations

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Food Feature



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

I love collards. My friends and family tell me I cook the best they've ever eaten. I got that from …

by Kitty Hegemann 1 on Despite Urban Sprawl and Industry, a Durham Family Collard Farm Lives On (Food Feature)

There's a huge difference between the food stuffs you see at Kroger/HT/Publix and the real deal you can get when …

by whatdoiknow on Mind the Food Gap: Who Does Farm-to-Table Serve? (Food Feature)

I found this recipe years ago and have made it often. Best pumpkin pie I have ever had. …

by Jan Bauman on Mamie Eisenhower's Pumpkin Pie recipe, rescued from oblivion (Food Feature)

Had dinner at Northside District this past weekend and everything about our experience was excruciatingly slow. Empty drinks went unfilled. …

by Shocka Kahn on The Restaurant Merry-Go-Round at 403 West Rosemary Comes to a Strong Stop at Northside District (Food Feature)

^ this guy seems like a blast to have around ^

by J.P. McPickleshitter on The Restaurant Merry-Go-Round at 403 West Rosemary Comes to a Strong Stop at Northside District (Food Feature)

Comments

Everything very unprofessional. They just want to charge you an "revolutionary fee" with all the service making pressure on you. …

by feullies on Blue Note Grill (Durham County)

Simply the best caribbean food in town!

by prince on Golden Krust Caribbean Grill & Bakery (Durham County)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation