Last year, August came and went and I did not make corn chowder once. Shame on me. I made Tomato-Corn Relish, I made Tomato, Corn, Basil, and Mozzarella Pasta Salad, I made Fresh Corn and Bacon Cornbread, but I did not make corn chowder.
So, over Labor Day weekend I slid one in under the wire. This is a main course chowder. In this recipe, part of the corn and potatoes get blended in a food processor, but this step can be skipped altogether if you are not in the mood – the chowder will still be delicious, just not quite as thick or blended together.
Over the years we have spent quite a bit of time on Cape Cod, and a bowl of any kind of clam or corn chowder sends us all right back there, memory-wise. Clams would be fantastic instead of salmon, and very classic — I am also thinking that this would be pretty spectacular with some chopped shrimp or baby scallops.
You can see in the recipe that crumbled cooked bacon and slivered scallions are suggested as garnishes. And you can also see from the photos that I forgot to add those before we snapped the pictures. Don’t be me.
The first time I made this, I served it to the kids with a quiet uncertainty –fish in soups has been met with mixed results. To put it delicately. But to my surprised delight (which also could be the motto of the act of cooking for kids) Charlie loved this.
You know, there is such great pleasure in watching your kid eat something doesn’t fall neatly into the bucket of “kid-friendly foods,” and if I had to pick a winner for this kind of sheer parent-thrill, fish soup would be right up there.
Salmon Corn Chowder
- 2 pounds skinless salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ cup minced shallots
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 6 Yukon gold potatoes about 2 pounds, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 cups corn kernels from about 8 ears
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Sliced scallions
- Crumbled cooked bacon
- Cut the salmon into 1-inch pieces. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add half the salmon and sauté just until the outside turns opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter, and repeat with the other half of the salmon.
- Over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil in a stockpot or very large saucepan. Add the shallots and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes. Partially cover the pot, keep the broth at a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
- In a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup of the corn kernels with the half-and-half, and use a slotted spoon to scoop out about ½ cup of cooked potatoes and add those to the bender; puree until smooth. Add the pureed mixture along with the remaining corn kernels back into the pot, and return to just barely a simmer. Simmer gently for 2 minutes, add the partially cooked salmon and the dill, season with salt and pepper and simmer for another 2 minutes until the salmon is just cooked through. Use the back of the spoon to break up the salmon into smaller chunks. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed and serve hot, with whatever garnishes you like.
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