Northwest Seafood Chowder
During the winter months in the Northwest there is no need to even slow down at the frozen seafood counter. Fresh salmon, halibut, cod, rockfish, mussels, prawns, oysters and Dungeness crab are abundant. If you plan fish for dinner one night, buy a little extra to use as the basic ingredient of this soup. The taste twist to this recipe is the smoked fish.
A visit to Harry Yoshimura at Mutual Fish where the bivalves move around and the fish case challenges you to choose among so many gorgeous options.
Yellow onion, parsley, thyme, russet potato, and fresh lingcod
- Wherever you buy fresh fish, if you want what is best, get to know the fish seller. Ask where the fish came from, when it came into the market, whether it has been frozen and his or her recommendation on the best cooking method. If the fish looks dull, ask to smell a piece. If it has any odor at all, don’t buy it. Fresh, clean fish does not smell.
- Most fish sellers want to get to know and please their customers, and a knowledgeable fish seller can be very, very helpful. If you are pleased with the fish you purchased, tell the seller the next time you see him or her. If you are not pleased, get on the phone, call the seller or department or store manager and let it be known. The fish sellers I frequent tell me what I should buy on any given day because they know that I trust their experience.
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs. fresh lemon thyme leaves
Juice of 1 fresh, large lemon plus lemon halves
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1” cubes, and steamed until it can be pierced with a fork
1# fresh ling cod fillet, bones removed with tweezers
24 oz. homemade fish stock or clam broth in jars
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Potato flour for thickening (1 tbs. mixed with 3 tbs. water, stirred to a paste)
4oz. portion hot-smoked salmon, skin and bones removed
- Soften onion and garlic in oil over medium heat. Add thyme leaves and set aside.
- Put lemon juice and lemon halves, fish, stock and wine in pan, cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove fish and set aside. Remove lemon halves and discard. Strain stock into pot with onions, garlic and thyme. Add the cream and bring to a steady simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the soup thickens.
- Turn heat to low and add half of the parsley, the potatoes and the cooked fish. Cook at a low simmer for 3 more minutes. If you want the chowder thicker, add potato flour paste and stir until it thickens.
- Break smoked salmon into small bite size pieces and add to the chowder. Stir to blend. Cover and leave on barely warm for 2 minutes.
- To Serve: Ladle chowder into warmed bowls. Garnish with remaining parsley.