Dice the salt pork and then run it under a cold tap for 1/2 hour to remove most of the salt. Place a large soup pot over a medium flame and add the butter. Allow the butter to melt and then add the salt pork. Moderate the heat so that the salt pork renders without coloring. After the salt pork has rendered for several minutes add the onions and sweat them until translucent. Add the clam juice and the potatoes; turn up the heat so that the broth comes to a simmer. Cook the chowder until the potatoes are cooked through. Remove the chowder from the fire and chill it as quickly as possible. Refrigerate the chowder over-night.
When you are ready to serve the chowder place it back on the fire and bring it to a simmer, hold the soup at that temperature for 5 minutes, before adding the chopped clams. Allow the clams to cook for 3 minutes before serving. Before serving taste the soup for seasoning. Usually there is enough salt in the clam broth and the clams themselves.
Serve the chowder piping hot with a pinch of chives over the top and a small pat of butter, if you like.
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Reprinted with permission by Executive Chef Micheal Cimarusti of Providence restaurant (Los Angeles, CA)