There seems to be a direct correlation between food that appeals to me and the weather. As soon as the wind feels crisper, I immediately want to simmer things on the stove until the kitchen steams up. I love sitting together at the table over a bowl of lovely chowder or a bowl full of cassoulet.
In September I started my annual empty-out-the-freezer project and hauled out the skeleton of a giant Pacific salmon I had filleted it after it had a starring role in a photo shoot I was working on. The beast was 11 pounds so you can imagine the size of its carcass occupying my freezer.
I threw in some shrimp shells, carrot, celery and onions in a pot with the chopped fish bones and covered with water. As a testament to my lacking fish filleting skills, there was quite a bit of salmon still around the bones. About 10 minutes into the simmer, I pulled the salmon meat from the bones and set it aside. I thought I would make some sort of soup, maybe salmon chowder.
Last weekend we had my in-laws over for dinner. In addition to being celiac, my mother-in-law is also lactose intolerant. My plan for using the stock in creamy fish chowder now seemed a little cruel until I remembered a recipe I created for September’s Canadian Family magazine.
In a moment of culinary genius (I think!) I added instant potato flakes to a corn chowder to thicken it up quickly. Voila! It seems it is possible make creamy chowder and still keep my mother-in-law's tummy happy.
Check it out!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 head fennel, trimmed and diced, reserve fonds for garnish
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 cups fish stock
1 cup potato flakes
1 cup salmon pulled from bones, optional
salt and pepper
a splash of Pernod, optional
1. Sauté vegetables in large pot until softened.
2. Add fish stock and stir in potato flakes. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Add reserved salmon.
3. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Add Pernod if using.
4. Serve sprinkled with chopped fennel fonds.