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

The Refectory is no longer on the Duke Campus. Their new, permanent location is on Chapel Hill Blvd, and yes …

by Beth Owl's Daughter on The Refectory Cafe (Durham County)

Food was good. Service was extremely poor last night. Server had to be reminded too many times to bring a …

by robbo on Blu Seafood & Bar (Durham County)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

Jesus Vasquez - I don't want to speak for Monica Segovia-Welsh, featured in this story as one-half of the business, …

by victoria_foodeditor on Chicken Bridge Bakery Feeds Bodies and Minds with Baked-In Messages of Resistance and Solidarity (Food Feature)

As for the previous post, please explain the difference between "appropriating" and celebrating/appreciating different cultures.

by Barbara 2 on Chicken Bridge Bakery Feeds Bodies and Minds with Baked-In Messages of Resistance and Solidarity (Food Feature)

Another White boy appropriates Latino culture. But it's cool, cause he's against HB2, supports the protestors at Standing Rock, and …

by Jesus Vasquez on Chicken Bridge Bakery Feeds Bodies and Minds with Baked-In Messages of Resistance and Solidarity (Food Feature)

While I hate to see local/small farmers get hurt, the problem that could eliminate it would be to stop the …

by Barbara 2 on Trump’s New USDA Pick Is Making It Harder for N.C. Farmers to Survive (Food Feature)

WHY cut down those 50 ft. pine trees, dude??????

by Phyllis Nunn on Raleigh Artist David McConnell's Infinity Hundred Is a Biodiverse Alternative to Big Agriculture (Food Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation