A friend is currently in the US and has raved about the New England Clam Chowder he discovered in Boston. This got me thinking about the Seafood Chowder I tried and loved when I was in San Francisco a few years ago. There are many variations on the chowder recipe, normally inspired by fresh produce available in different regions in the US, and further back in history, several parts of Europe. I decided to try to make my version of chowder now that the weather has got cooler here in Sydney.
You could use any type of seafood that inspires you and is fresh; prawns, fish, shellfish etc. I used clams, as my fish monger had fresh ones available vacuum packed in their own juice and ready to go. I left the clams in their shell, purely for aesthetic purposes. A lot of recipes use bacon, but as a pescitarian, I substituted smoked salmon to give a smokey depth of flavour. I love things spicy so I added cayenne pepper for heat and smoked paprika to pimp up the smokey stakes. If you don’t like things quite so hot, skip the cayenne and just use the smoked paprika. Some recipes use a roux (a mixture of flour and fat) to thicken the soup and leave the potatoes chunky, I skipped the flour and blended the potatoes to thicken my soup.
You can serve your chowder with water cracker biscuits (which I think are similar to the American style oyster crackers), crusty bread, croutons, or as it was done in San Francisco, in hollowed out sour-dough bread.
What I was cooking this time last year: Pasta Pronto
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 onion
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 carrot
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried
- 100g smoked salmon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1kg potatoes
- 1kg vacuum pack fresh clams
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 bunch parsley
- cream (optional, for serving)
- Bread or crackers, to serve
- Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery.
- Pick the thyme leaves off their stalks, and the parsley leaves off their stalks.
- Finely chop the parsley leaves and set aside.
- Finely chop the tender parsley stalks (discard any that are too thick).
- Heat the oil in a large pan.
- Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, parsley stalks, thyme leaves, garlic cloves, bay leaves, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika.
- Cook, stirring occasionally while you roughly chop the smoked salmon.
- Add the smoked salmon to the pot and continue to cook and stir while you peel and chop the potatoes into 1cm dice.
- Strain the clam juice from the vacuum pack (you should end up with about 1 cup) and add to the pot.
- Add 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of water to the pan and cover with a lid.
- Cook until the potato is soft, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Blend the soup until smooth.
- Add the clams to the soup pot and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes until the clams are hot.
- Your soup is ready to serve. Dish into bowls, drizzle with cream and garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy.
What is your favourite soup? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
This is a pescetarian twist on the comforting classic carbonara classic recipe. The traditional carbonara generally consists of eggs, cheese, bacon (or similar) and black pepper. I’m not sure what it is about the creamy richness of the sauce, smokiness from the fish combined with the zesty tang from the lemon, but this is my ultimate (savoury) comfort food.
When adding the lemon juice to your cream and egg mixture, add a little juice at a time and stir as you go to combine and prevent curdling (and don’t try and add cream to lemon juice or you really will end up with a mess).
I used hot smoked trout which has a texture similar to cooked fish, but with the delicious smokey flavour. You could also use regular smoked trout or smoked salmon to similar effect. This is to substitute for the bacon flavour in the original carbonara recipe.
Regarding your herbs, feel free to experiment. I used lemon thyme and tarragon because that is what I happened to have growing and both go well with seafood. I added the spinach in a feeble attempt to inject some healthiness into the recipe.
I love the slurpiness of spaghetti, but feel free to use your favourite pasta.
What I was cooking this time last year: Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup
Creamy trout pasta
* This recipe was adapted from a Lemon Linguine recipe in “How to Eat” by Nigella Lawson. I have modified and adapted it over the years to come up with the below reincarnation.
- 2 egg yolks
- 150mls cream
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons of chopped herbs (I used lemon thyme and tarragon)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 spring onions
- 100g hot smoked trout
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
- salt and plenty of black pepper
- Pasta for 2
- parmesan cheese, to serve
- Put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil to cook your pasta.
- Finely chop the spring onions and crush the garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in another saucepan over a low heat and add the garlic and chopped spring onions.
- In a measuring jug add the cream and egg yolks. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.
- Zest the lemon and add to the cream mixture.
- Juice the lemon and add a little juice at a time, stirring to combine.
- Add the cream mixture and herbs to the garlic and onions and stir to combine.
- Put your pasta on to cook in the boiling salted water.
- Flake the trout and add to the cream sauce, stir to combine.
- Add the baby spinach and stir to combine and wilt the spinach.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the cream sauce.
- Stir to combine.
- Serve, garnished with parmesan cheese. Enjoy.
What is your favourite pasta dish? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
This week’s recipe is quite easy to scale, I’ve included details for one piece of salmon, but you can simply multiply the ingredients depending on how many you are catering for.
Kecap manis is a Indonesian sweet soy sauce that is thick and delicious. It is great for using as a dipping sauce for spring rolls or other asian nibbles, or in your stirfries, and can be found in the asian sauces section of most supermarkets these days. Miso paste is a Japanese soy bean paste, it comes in a white and red form, which you may have to go to an asian grocery store to track down. While you are at the asian grocery store you can pick up some mirin, which is a type of rice wine.
I’ve used salmon in this recipe, but it would work just as well with ocean trout or you could experiment with other types of fish. It is up to you if you want to use a piece of fish with the skin on or off.
Because of the high sugar content in the sweet soy sauce, you may end up with a black coating after cooking, to try and avoid this cook your salmon over a low heat and a piece of fish with the skin on will provide extra protection. I served my marinated salmon alongside some stirfried asian greens and rice, but feel free to improvise.
Asian marinated salmon
- Drizzle of oil for pan frying, I used coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon red miso paste
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed
- chilli, finely chopped, to taste
- 1/2 a lemon or lime worth of zest, use rest of the lemon or lime to serve
- 200g salmon filet
- Add the miso paste, mirin, ginger, kecap manis, garlic, chilli and lemon or lime zest to a shallow dish and stir everything to combine.
- Add your salmon to the dish and coat in the marinade, leave to soak up the flavours for 10 minutes (an hour would be even better).
- Heat your pan to medium heat, add your oil to the bottom of the pan and add your marinated salmon filet. Turn down the heat and cook the salmon for 3-5 minutes depending in how thick your piece of fish is and how you like it cooked.
- Turn the salmon filet and cook for a minute or two on the other side.
- Your salmon is ready to serve, garnish with the lemon or lime. Enjoy.
What is your favourite fish dish? Has this post inspired any new ideas?