Recipe Review: Smoky Fish & Potato Chowder from Dinner
Do you know Melissa Clark? A columnist to the New York Times Cooking section. I've been a fan of hers since reading In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite, a food memoir tracing the inspiration of many of her NYT column recipes. I love reading Melissa's recipes, she has great casual approach, despite her lifelong food obsession. She's serious about food, but doesn't take it too seriously. I bookmarked nearly every recipe in that book, but I hadn't made any of her recipes until this one.
When I received my pre-order of Dinner I scanned through and bookmarked nearly every recipe (a clear trend with me and Melissa's recipes). This Fish Chowder wasn't one that got hte bookmark treatment, but as I planned my meals for the week, flipping through to find the perfect recipe to start with, this one caught my eye—I had everything on hand except the fish. Fine, I'll give it a try.
For the fish stock I made some with my beloved Instant Pot. Ever since learning to break down a fish in Cooking Fundamentals II at SF Cooking School, I've been buying whole fish and making stock with the carcass. I don't make many fish soups, but I've used fish broth for seafood risotto. If you haven't jumped on the Instant Pot craze, I highly recommend it for making homemade broth if nothing else, more on that another time. My fish stock came together in 30 minutes on high pressure resulting in a perfectly perfumed broth - a clean seafood smell, and a lovely color thanks to the addition of red onion.
With broth and fish at the ready, time to make the chowder. My earlier estimation that I had everything on hand was thwarted when I realized I not longer had the smoked paprika I thought I had, or the thyme. I made a few subs for those (ancho chili powder, and rosemary, respectively), plus an intentional swap of Organic Honey Gold Potatoes instead of fingerling (these are perfect, beautiful, creamy potatoes and I've had a hard time eating any others since discovering them).
There's not much to say about the cooking of the soup other than came together fast, thanks to mise en place (prepping each ingredient before cooking), plus my potatoes cooked in 10 minutes, the instructions recommend 25 (glad I checked).
A squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt topped the bowl. I dropped a bit of cilantro to offer something green. Mmmmmm, rich milky chowder with perfectly meaty bites of fish and potatoes. Its much lighter than what you might expect to get from a restaurant. Portions were good for a satisfying meal for two, plus lunch for me the next day.