Heat a 6 or 8-quart heavy bottomed soup or sauce pot over a low heat and add the bacon. Once it has rendered a few tablespoons of fat, increase the heat to medium and cook the bacon until crisp golden brown. Leave the bacon pieces and the fat in the pan. Add the butter, onion, thyme and bay leaf. Saute them for about 8 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, but not browned. Add the potatoes and fish stock. The stock should just barely cover the potatoes. If it doesn't add enough water to cover them. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and cook the potatoes vigorously for about 8 minutes. Add the diced cabbage, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. The potatoes should be firm in the center and soft on the outside. If the broth hasn't thickened, lightly smash a few potatoes against the side of the pot and simmer 1 or 2 minutes longer to release their starches. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the scallops and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the cream and let sit 10 more minutes while the scallops finish their slow cooking. Retaste the chowder and adjust the salt and pepper. If you are not serving the chowder within the hour, let it cool a bit then refrigerate. Cover the chowder after it has completely chilled. Otherwise, let it sit for up to an hour, allowing the flavors to meld. When ready to serve, reheat over a low heat and don't let the chowder boil. Use a slotted spoon to mound the pieces of scallop, potato, cabbage and bacon in the center of large soup plates or shallow bowls and ladle the creamy broth around. Sprinkle generously with sliced scallions.
Recipe courtesy of Jasper White, author, "Lobster at Home"
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