Whiskey Smoked Salmon Chowder
adapted from Gourmet or Food & Wine (I shouldn’t have cut this recipe out without noting the source!)
• 1/4 cup butter
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 6 celery stalks, finely chopped
• Pinch saffron threads, optional
• 8 small red or white potatoes peeled and diced (2-3 cups)
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel bulb
• 2 cups milk
• 2 8-oz. bottles clam juice
• 2-1/2 cups corn kernels
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2-4 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 teaspoon lobster base, optional
• 1 pound smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
• Juice and zest of 1 small lemon
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
• 2 oz. Jack Daniel's whiskey
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot and sauté the onions, celery, and saffron over medium heat until softened.
2. Add the potatoes and fennel and sauté briefly before pouring in the milk and clam juice. Cover, and let the mixture simmer on medium heat until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
3. Add the corn, cream, tomato paste, and lobster base.
4. Cook 5 minutes more, add the salmon, lemon juice, lemon zest, dill, and whiskey. Season with salt and pepper
Notes on ingredients:
Saffron: To me this is not optional. Saffron gives chowder a wonderfully buttery flavor. It can be purchased inexpensively at Cost Plus/World Market.
Lobster paste: I was too lazy to go out and hunt this down, and the chowder tasted just fine without it.
Tomato paste: I don’t like the taste of tomato paste. It reminds me of cheap pizza from my childhood, so I didn’t use it. Again, the chowder was great without it.
Salmon: I was on a budget when I made this so I used only half a pound. I think this kept the chowder from being too rich. I plan to try a full pound next time just to see the difference.
Photo by Julie Fay Ashborn