Filson Food: West Coast Seafood Chowder

a top down view of a cutting board with three pieces of grilled buttered bread and half a lemon next to tarragon on the countertop and a half full red and cream pot full of seafood chowder

Chowder is a dish that can be found up and down both coasts of the United States and each regional interpretation has its own unique local style. Regardless of the style of chowder, the main theme remains the same. A medley of seafood is cooked in a broth with a mixture of vegetables and commonly served with crackers.

This West Coast version is slightly thinner than most, uses local seafood, like pacific cod and halibut, and is finished with a ton of fresh herbs. I love this version because it works just as well during the warm summer months as the cold winter months.

Serve with a side of grilled rustic bread with lots of butter.

Serves 4–6

plated seafood, clams, oysters and white fish, next to tarragon and chives on a dark countertop


6 Slices Thick cut bacon, ½” diced

½ Cup Butter

1 Onion, ½” diced

3 Stalks Celery, ½” diced

5 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped

½ tsp Anise seed, crushed

½ tsp Dill seed, crushed

2 Tbsp Flour

½ Cup White wine

16 fl oz Clam nectar

16 fl oz Chicken stock

6 oz Potatoes, ½” diced

2 Sprigs Thyme

32 Fl oz Heavy cream

6 oz Cod, ¾” diced

6 oz Halibut, ¾” diced

12 Clams

20 Mussels

2 Sprigs Dill, chopped

2 Sprigs Parsley, de-stemmed and chopped

2 Sprigs Tarragon, de-stemmed and chopped

20 Chives, ½” chopped

½ Lemon, juiced

½ tsp Salt


1. In a heavy pot, render the bacon over a medium heat until crispy.

2. Add the butter, onions, and celery to the pot and cook until the onions are translucent, approximately 5–8 minutes.

3. Add the garlic, anise seed, and dill seed to the pot and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Add the flour and toast over a medium high heat for 1 minute.

5. Slowly whisk in the white wine, clam nectar, and chicken stock until there are no lumps of flour left.

6. Bring the chowder to a simmer, add the thyme and potatoes, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked, approximately 15–20 minutes

7. Add the cream, cod, and halibut to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes or until the fish is just cooked.

8. Add the clams and mussels and cook until all the shells have opened up. Discard any shells that do not open.

9. Add the salt, taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. This amount will vary depending on the salt level of the clam nectar used.

10. Scatter the chopped herbs over the top of the chowder and finish with fresh squeezed lemon.

11. Serve with grilled butter bread and a bowl for the shells.

a finished product of west coast chowder in a red pot with the three pieces of grilled buttered bread and a wooden spoon dipped into it