I love a good chowder, always have. I remember being a young girl travelling on BC Ferries from Victoria to Vancouver and always getting a bowl of the clam chowder. In my memory it was everything that travelling on a ferry boat should encompass along with the mystic connotations of the sea with the salty nectar of the clams. Chowder wasn't something that my mother ever made, so getting it on the ferry was all the more special. As I grew older and realized that there were much better ways to make a good chowder I left my ferry boat chowder phase and went head strong into my creamy chowder phase. This was a good time while it lasted. But it was also a heavy soup that I could only eat once in a while. Then I found this. Not only is this chowder super simple to make, it is light and yet has enough fat in it to be satisfying. If you have never made a chowder in your life or think that it is reserved for ferry boat rides, I highly encourage you to try this soup. Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? This is it.
Easy Salmon Chowder
Adapted from Good Fish by Becky Selengut
1 good glug of Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 medium yellow onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 stalks celery diced
pinch of salt
1 medium potato, Yukon Gold or Russet
peeled and diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste, I used just a very tiny pinch)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 small can diced tomatoes (14oz)
1 cup water
1 small can of clam juice or fish stock if you have it, about 1 cup
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 lb wild sockeye salmon or coho, skinned and cut into 1 inch chunks*
small handful of fresh chopped Italian parsley
Get out your soup pot, turn up the heat to medium-high and add your olive oil. Throw in your onion, garlic and celery, sprinkle with salt and sauté until soft. Then add your potato and cook for a few more minutes. You might need to turn down the heat so the potato doesn't stick. Now add your herbs, cayenne and pour in the white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Next in is your tomatoes, water, clam juice or fish stock. Bring this to a boil and let it cook for about 15 minutes or until your potatoes are fork tender. Once this has happened, add your cream, salmon and parsley and turn off the heat. The warmth from the soup will gently cook your salmon to perfection, it's amazing really. Taste it before you serve and adjust seasonings if need be. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread. And there you have it, the best, easiest Salmon Chowder ever!
*If you don't want to skin the fish yourself, ask the fish monger to do it, they shouldn't charge you any more and it will save you a bit of time.