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Monday, January 4, 2010

Have You Had Your Fish Today?

Hi Boys and Girls!

Now, don't stop reading just because you see fish in the heading! Keep going...have an open mind. I am not talking about something complicated like bouillabaisse http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/bouillabaisse/ or something exotic like Machhi Ka Salan http://www.indianfoodforever.com/non-veg/fish/. How about good 'ole salmon?

It is cold here...really cold...So, I decided on a nice fish soup. I love clam chowder but wanted to try a dish Rev. Helen made one evening at church. http://www.cfpcnb.org/. This salmon chowder comes from the wonderful soup cookbook Soup Superb Ways with a Classic Dish, by Debra Mayahew. (There are 3 used available at http://www.amazon.com/). Note: As of Tuesday, no used copies. That is a good thing in that it tells me people are enjoying my blog and a bad thing that you missed out on a good price for this cookbook. My apologies.

Ths soup is really easy to make and very good for you. It does not have that "fishy taste" that we grew up hating. I made a few changes in the basic recipe but nothing major. The most important thing to me was purchasing fresh salmon. I don't mean any salmon...I mean Wild Salmon. There is a big difference. Wild salmon is just that...the salmon travel thousands of miles eating lots of good fishy stuff until they make it back to where they were born so they can mate. Farm-raised salmon, on the other hand, are not wild and are kept in a restricted area with hundreds of other salmon and are fed the same thing (usually chopped up fish) and can't help but eat each other's deposits. What goes in must come out. OK, enough of that. Wild salmon will cost you more money but is worth it. However, like I said...farm-raised salmon is better than no salmon at all. Omega 3's...that is the key word here. http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/good-fat-bad-fat-facts-about-omega-3

Salmon Chowder
Serves 4
1 1/2 TBLS butter
1 onion
1 leek, minced
1 small fennel bulb, minced
2 1/2 TBLS flour
1 3/4 quarts fish stock
2 potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 lb boneless, skinless salmon, cut into cubes
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 TBLS chopped fresh dill
salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Melt the butter and add the next 3 ingredients. Cook on medium for 5-8 minutes. Stir in the flour and lower the heat and cook another 3 minutes. Add the fish stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add the salmon and simmer 3-5 minutes. Stir in the milk, cream and dill. Cook until heated but do not boil.
Note: I added a bit of organic chicken stock and substituted fat-free half & half for the cream. The fish stock is about $1 more than organic chicken stock. I think it would still be good with chicken stock.

Be sure to wash the leeks thoroughly. I usually wash them first, chop them and then rinse again with a strainer.

Chop the fennel, onion and leek in the same size pieces. I used a little food processor but that is not necessary. They are so pretty.

Skinning the fish was difficult for me but only because I have never done it before. All you fishing people out there have done this a thousand times! I did know enough to sharpen my knife. I did find that  I got better results holding down one end of the filet. Chop the salmon into bite-size pieces. It will fall apart in the soup anyway. Do give this soup a try. Let me know how you like it. It makes enough for two meals maybe even a third if I add a salad. We had sourdough bread and a nice red wine  with our soup.

Not much went to waste...even Duke loved the salmon skin!

Don't forget to cover your plants tonight and bring your pets in. It will be freezing most evenings this week. Until next time...cook something...eat a meal with family...take a walk...brrrrrrrr!!!