Casco Bay Scallop Chowder
Yield: Serves 6
2 ounces bacon, preferably slab bacon, or lean salt pork, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 boiling potatoes, sliced or diced
salted water to cover
2 quarts milk
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 stick butter
2 pounds scallops the size of cherry tomatoes, or trimmed to that size, and cleaned of their 'knuckles,' the strip of cartilege attached to them
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Fry out the bacon and remove it from the pan. Discard it or save it to add to the chowder. Fry the onion until it is transparent.
Boil the potatoes until they are done to your taste. Drain and place in a soup tureen along with the onions and the bacon fat.
Place the milk, the basil, the scallops, and half the butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter melts. Stir, add the remaining butter, and continue to heat until that melts. This method will extract the liquor from the scallops without overcooking them. The milk should be steaming but not simmering. At this point you are on your own. If you prefer scallops to be further cooked than this, continue to heat until you are satisfied with them, keeping in mind that their flavor is best when they are still a little translucent in the center.
Spoon the scallops into the tureen with the potatoes and onions and pour the hot milk over them. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.