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

Comments

Neomonde had an official name change recently. We are no longer Neomonde Bakery & Deli. We are now Neomonde Mediterranean.

by Neomonde Mediterranean on Neomonde Bakery & Deli (Wake County)

BEST WINGSSSS

by Nadeem Sider on Leesville Tap Room (Wake County)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

Thank you for covering how the brutality of industrial farming affects human farmers and their neighbors in this story and …

by Linda Watson on Local Film Under Contract Highlights the Human Story Behind the Chicken in Your Biscuit (Food Feature)

Thanks mr.bell

by Sheissobad on Sankofa Farms Plants Seeds of Empowerment for Black Youth in Durham (Food Feature)

Thank you Mr. Bell, this program is a much needed blessing. You have given these children a little more hope …

by Diana Carter on Sankofa Farms Plants Seeds of Empowerment for Black Youth in Durham (Food Feature)

Mr. Bell, Thanks for being that Servant Leader that the NC Public Education System so desperately needs. For those of …

by Hawkins O'Neal on Sankofa Farms Plants Seeds of Empowerment for Black Youth in Durham (Food Feature)

Anyone who would eat a whole cup of cashews isn't doing it right. Eat a small handful, and you get …

by Ken Cory on No carbs? Go nuts with cashews (Food Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation