Preparation / Directions:
Place clams in a deep 2 1/2-3 quart microwave-safe casserole. Add water and sprinkle lightly with seasoned salt. Cover dish with lid or plastic wrap, folding back 1 corner to vent steam. If dish is flat-bottomed, elevate on inverted saucer free of any metal trim.
Microwave clams on high until shells just open, 3-9 minutes, depending on size of clams. Cool until shells can be handled. Remove clams from shells, reserving all broth. Discard shells. Dice clams. Remove sand by pouring broth through a fine sieve or colander lined with damp paper towel.
Rinse casserole and add salt pork. Microwave, uncovered, on high 3 minutes. Stir in onions and continue cooking until onions are soft, 3-4 minutes. Add reserved clam broth, celery, carrot and potatoes. Stir. Cover casserole with lid or vented plastic wrap and microwave on high until potatoes are nearly tender, about 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes with juice and thyme. Re-cover and microwave on high, stirring every 2 minutes, until potatoes are tender and soup is boiling, 5-6 minutes. Add reserved clams. Season to taste with salt and pepper and heat, covered, on medium 2-3 minutes more. Allow chowder to stand 5 minutes before ladling into bowls.