Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Fish Chowder

Mmmmmmm..... this chowder was SO delicious I had to immediately post the recipe.  With the savory, creamy broth, chunks of white cod and potato, spicy jalapeno, and sweet fresh corn and basil this soup had a depth of flavor that keeps you going back for another bite.  Sean picked it out from one of our cook books, 50 Chowders by Jasper White.  It's a great summer recipe because the flavor of the fresh corn and tomatoes really make a difference.  I tweaked the recipe a bit by increasing the bacon, subbing in a different type of fish and amping up the heat by including the jalapeno seeds.  Otherwise I stayed pretty close to the actual recipe in the book.  
  • 3 ears of fresh corn
  • 8 oz slab or sliced bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced (I included the seeds and it had a nice level of heat)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced (I used 3 large russet potatoes)
  • 4 cups strong fish or seafood stock (I recommend Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 1 lb fresh ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless cod filet (other meaty white fish will work too)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Start by husking the corn and cutting the kernels from the cob.  I find the easiest way is to use a large knife, lay the corn flat on the cutting board, and then slice and rotate until you've covered the whole cob.  The kernels are less likely to fly all over the place if you do it this way instead of holding the cob straight up and down as you slice.
Next, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the sliced bacon.  Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the fat has rendered.  Turn up the heat a bit until it starts to crisp.   If there is a lot of fat, drain some until only about 2 tablespoons remain with the bacon.  Then, add the garlic and butter, stir to melt, and cook for about 30 seconds.   Adding butter to bacon fat just compounds the deliciousness...
Add the onion, celery, and jalapeno to the pot with 1/2 teaspoon salt and turn heat back to medium.  Saute for about 7-9 minutes until vegetables have started to soften.  
Next, add the corn, potatoes, and stock.  If the stock doesn't cover the potatoes, add a bit of water.  Add 1 teaspoon salt if your stock is unsalted, or low in sodium.  Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.  Keep the pot covered and cook the potatoes vigorously for about 5-7 minutes.  (I did 10 minutes and thought the potatoes were slightly over-cooked)  If the stock hasn't thickened slighlty, mash a few of the potatoes against the side of the pot and stir. 

Add the diced tomatoes, and reduce heat to low.  Taste and season mixture assertively with salt and pepper.  (Season now to avoid having to stir a lot once the fish has been added.)   
While the chowder is simmering, add the fish and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.  The fish will finish cooking in this time.  Gently stir in the cream and basil and taste for more salt and pepper.  
Yes.... this is us.

If you are not serving immediately, let it come to room temperature before refrigerating.  Otherwise, serve the chowder and enjoy!  This makes about 8 servings as a main dish.  It was a big hit with our guests, I can't wait to make it again!


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