Manhattan Scallop Chowder with Fennel

1 large onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

Pinch of fennel seeds

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 large fennel bulb, diced, fronds reserved

1 fat garlic clove, minced

1 bay leaf

1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced

1 quart chicken broth

1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes

1 8-ounce bottle clam juice

1 pound bay or small sea scallops or sea scallops quartered

1. In a soup pot, heat olive oil to cover bottom of pot. Add onion, salt, pepper and fennel seeds and cook, stirring, until onion is limp, about 5 minutes. Stir in the celery, diced fennel, garlic and bay leaf and sauté for 10 minutes longer.

2. Add potatoes, broth, tomatoes and their juices and clam juice. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

3. Chop fennel frond to yield 2 or 3 tablespoons. Add to pot along with scallops. Simmer gently just until scallops are cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings.

Adapted from The NY Times, Dec. 19, 2008