Landlubber’s Fish Chowder

Use salmon, monkfish, tautog, cod, or wolffish here. Flaky fish, such as flounder, mackerel, or sea bass, tend to fall apart too easily. Serve as a main course for lunch or dinner. For a reduced-fat fish chowder, omit the cream.

Remove any excess skin and, using tweezers, pick out the bones from:

3 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless fish fillets

If you have to use a knife to cut out the bones, be sure to leave the fillets in pieces as large as possible. Place in a large soup pot and cook, stirring, over low heat until it is beginning to crisp; 10-15 minutes:

4 ounces meaty salt pork or 4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch dice

Add and cook, stirring until the onions are tender but not browned, 10-15 minutes:

4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 large onions, cut into 1-inch dice

3 bay leaves

1 T chopped fresh thyme

Stir in:

3 large Maine or other boiling potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

3 cups fish stock, fish fumet, or express fish broth

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the fish fillets along with:

2 cups heavy cream

Simmer until the fish is cooked through and beginning to flake, 8-10 minutes. Season with:

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 T chopped fresh parsley and/or chervil

Remove from the heat. Ladle into soup dishes. Top each serving with:

Dollop of butter

Serve with common crackers.

Yield: 12-14 cups; 8-10 servings

From The All New Purpose Joy of Cooking

Notes: We used frozen haddock that we thawed in the fridge and lobster stock that Gray made from lobster claws. We also cut the recipe by four, as we did not want leftovers for three nights!

Gray:  I thought this turned out well.  I have always wanted to make a fish chowder since I read Moby Dick many years ago.  After making this, I think that I like clam chowder better, but this was very tasty.  It was easy to make, and it came together quickly.  Since I cut the quantity down, I had to fiddle with the amount of liquid to have enough to cook the potato that we used.  Other than that, it was very straightforward.  I just got everything measured and ready to go, and started cooking.  With quick-cooking seafood dishes, the prep work really makes a difference and takes the stress out of it.

Katie: Apparently saltine crackers can go bad. I had bought some who knows when to use in a recipe. Probably for crab cakes or something similar. Well, we don’t use them a lot, and when we opened a new cracker sleeve to eat with the chowder, the crackers didn’t feel or smell right. We both tasted a small piece, and they were disgusting! I found the date on the box, and they were best sold by April 2011. Perhaps we should not have tasted them! That being said, the fish chowder was very good. Not my favorite chowder, but tasty! Gray made the chowder and served it with a roasted pepper salad. This consisted of peppers that he roasted on the grill and peeled, lettuce, and goat cheese, all drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. What a delish supper!

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