Faithful readers and home cooks: thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Sometimes blogging is like exercise. You know you will feel better when you finish, but some days are more challenging to write than others. So essentially, it's a long way of saying: THANK YOU. I may cook for the people around my table, but YOU, out there, are the reason I write about it.
Does anyone else's kitchen sink look like this? Just saying. I'm so much more motivated to cook when the dishes aren't piled high. But then I tell myself "OK, ten minutes- it will all be gone and you will have all the space you need to cook a wonderful meal." Sometimes self talk really works.
It's raining. A lot. Before we take off to Portland for the weekend, thought I would post a soup recipe for you. I mean what sounds better than hot soup after a wet day?
For you West Coasters, rest assured I haven't switched allegiance! I still stand by my Monterey Clam Chowder recipe. Oh gosh, I need to make that again! Just looking at it makes me weak in the knees. But I thought I'd switch it up and try a fish chowder. I needed to use up some fish stock from the freezer I had made from the bones of my husband's Tahoe catch this Summer.
So there I was... cruising on the treadmill, watching Food Network (usual occurrence). Bobby Flay came on with his Throw Down show where he challenges a local favorite at their well known dish. Fish Chowder was the theme. Was that drool or sweat running down my face?
This is my rendition of Bobby's Fish Chowder (Manhattan style, not New England). Manhattan chowder is typically tomato based versus cream based. They have such distinct differences in flavor- but I love the bacon notes in both of them.
Bobby's recipe is more step by step on how to make your broth and cook your fish etc. I already had stock and bought some sea bass instead of halibut. You can also buy fresh fish stock from your local fish counter if you want another short cut.
Manhattan Fish Chowder and Fingerling Potatoes
(Serves 4 for dinner)
6 cups fish stock
1 1/2 pounds of Sea Bass
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
4 pepper corns
1 28 oz can of peeled tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
2 medium celery stalks, diced
10 fingerling potatoes
6 large sprigs of flat leaf parsley
Sea Salt and Pepper
Bacon Relish Topping (a must)
1/4 pound bacon, finely diced and crisped
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley finely chopped
3 tbs canola oil
1/8 tsp of crushed red pepper flake
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Start by chopping bacon and crisping in main soup pot over medium to medium high heat.
Remove from pan when crispy and set aside for bacon relish later.
Add your chopped onion and celery to the bacon grease. Saute until softened (about 8 min) on medium high heat.
In the mean time, three things:
Finely chop or use a food processor to dice your tomatoes. Just pulse them.
Heat your grill pan for your fish.
Quarter your fingerling potatoes. Toss in canola oil, salt and pepper, and space out evenly in pan.
After veggies are soft, add your garlic and saute an extra minute.
Add your wine and almost completely reduce.
Next, add broth, pepper corns and parsley tied to cooking twine (makes for easier removal later). Cook together for about 20 minutes, uncovered. Put your potatoes in the oven! 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
While this is simmering away, cook the fish in a little oil, salt and pepper. Just a couple minutes on each side. We're just trying to get a quick sear, the rest of the fish will cook once it enters the soup.
After the fish has been seared, let rest. "Fish out" your parsley now wilted on a string and the pepper corns if you can find them. Chances are they will sink, so I wouldn't be too worried.
Place fish pieces into chowder to cook for a few final minutes.
Lastly, assemble your bacon relish. Feel free to double the ingredient amount for the relish if you are a real bacon fan. After all, this chowder is cream-less, so we can make up for the "chowder calories" somewhere, right?
In a small saute pan, heat oil and crushed red pepper flake. Add garlic. Stir for 30 seconds. Off heat, stir in bacon and parsley. Oh my, what a lovely topping.
Break fish fillets into smaller pieces if needed. Place a few ounces of fish in each bowl. Ladle soup into bowls over fish. Top with bacon relish and a few potato wedges.
The stock adds a richness. The peppercorns add a mystery bite. The fish is tender. The potatoes are filling and the relish takes the cake.
Time to come in from the rain and prepare for some slurping!