Monday, December 6, 2010

A Damn Good (and easy) Fish Chowder Recipe

You'd think that the best fish chowder in the world begins with fish.
It doesn't. It begins with bacon.

No, not any of that salted, smoked, honey cured, messed with junked up bacon. I'm talking pig plus nada. Just good thick sliced bacon. (If you're in the region, try Bush's bacon at Findlay Market in Cincinnati. You will not be let down.)

And fresh parsley. If you only have dried parsley, just go get the car keys and go out for burgers.

Fish: Fresh. Haddock is good, Cod is fine, Sole is acceptable. Even Monkfish is an interesting twist, be we went with Haddock, about 1/2 lb. for two servings (one fillet).

OK, if it smells like fish, don't buy it. People who don't like fish usually have had old fish. I have always found it odd that when people refer to something as being 'fishy' it means = 'bad'. Old fish, politicians, used car salesmen... and week old fish.

First, fry 3 strips of bacon. Remove from the pan and try not to eat all of it.

Then chop a large onion, and saute it in the bacon fat until translucent.

Add 2 C. chicken stock (homemade, preferred- low sodium is a good second best option) and 2 C. clam juice over medium heat. Add one large Russett potato, peeled and cubed, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and a bay leaf.

Cook until potatoes are tender... about 15 minutes. To add thickness, mash a few up against the side of the pot.

Add 1C frozen or fresh corn niblets. (Do not use canned corn. It tastes too sweet and mucks up the chowder.)

Add 1/3 C of cream, more or less.

Sprinkle a pinch of cayenne.

Add 2T dry sherry. Again, same with the parsley. If you don't have it, make something else.

Rinse the fish and pat dry with a paper towel. Do not rinse with lemon. If you feel you need to add lemon juice to 'purify' or 'sanitize', or 'completely ruin the flavor of' the chowder'... you likely have old fish.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce to medium. Add the fish to the pot; no need to cut it up, it should flake apart as it cooks. It shouldn't take more than 4-5 minutes.

When the fish flakes apart, you're done. Add pepper to taste (the clam juice will provide more than enough salt, do NOT add more.)

We got so excited at this part we forgot to take a picture of the final product. Sorry.

Serve into deep bowls and garnish with chopped parsley and bacon. Serves 2 heartily.

Eat and make yummy food noises.

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