Chowder: It’s Serious Business

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Chowders from Stuart's Seafood Market in Amagansett.

For Stuart’s Seafood Market, chowder is serious business.

Made fresh daily, there are at least eight different choices at any given time, from mussel, conk and oyster chowders to Mediterranean fish soup, lobster bisque and, of course, Manhattan and New England clam chowders.

“The most popular is Manhattan clam chowder,” according to chef Charlotte Klein Sasso, who co-owns the Amagansett fixture with her husband, Bruce. “It’s New York, hometown pride. But New England has been up and coming.”

“In fact, we were featured on the Travel Channel this year, on ‘Delicious Destinations,’ making our chowders,” she continued. “They heard that, on Long Island, it’s a thing to mix both chowders. I have a few friends who enjoy doing that, actually. It’s kind of like a vodka sauce with pasta, where you have the zest of the tomatoes, but then it’s mellowed out by the creaminess.”

Another highlight is the lobster bisque — “which is crazy good because we actually use chunks of lobster in it,” Sasso said — and gazpacho, served all summer long. Her favorite addition is a handful of fresh jumbo lump crab meat.

“To me, that’s living,” she said.

A self-described “inveterate tinkerer,” Sasso said soup is one of her favorite dishes to cook. It’s forgiving, and lends itself to experimentation, creativity and blends of flavors — “or whatever inspires you that day, or is in the pantry,” she said.

“But I’ve honed my recipes for the chowders. I have the recipes in stone,” she said. “Even though we don’t have regular seating — we have picnic benches outside for our employee lunches — people have really enjoyed grabbing a bite and sitting out there, digging in. It’s no frills, and I think that’s what everybody appreciates: a little break from the new Hamptons. We’re old school Hamptons.”

Most chowders and soups are $5 per pint and $10 per quart, except the lobster bisque and crab and corn chowder, which are $10 per pint and $20 per quart. Stuart’s Seafood Market is located at 41 Oak Lane in Amagansett. For more information, call (631) 267-6700 or visit stuartsseafood.com.

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