SERVES: 4 grown ups
butter 3 Tablespoons
onion 1 - small dice or rough chop (size doesn’t matter)
garlic 2 cloves, minced
fennel 1 bulb - small dice (rough chop is fine)… Saves the fronds if you have them for a garnish, if you don’t have fennel, skip it
thyme 1 bunch (no need to get hung up on amount, whatever you’ve got) pulled off stem and rough chop. About 2 teaspoons of dried thyme is fine, too.
flour 3 Tablespoons (about the same amount as butter)
water 1 quart (4 cups)
yukon gold potatoes 4 - 6 rinsed, medium dice (red skins work and russets will too, you just need to peel russets whereas you don’t with yukons or redskins).
fresh corn, 2 ears. If you only have one or you have a can or some frozen…proceed!
salmon 8 oz (2 frozen Wholefoods fillets) salmon
heavy cream 1/2 cup (skip this if you’re lactose intolerant or just afraid of cream).
salt & pepper
Chef knife and cutting board.
Bench scraper, not essential but makes moving chopped product so easy.
3-4 quart soup pot.
Cooking spoon (I still use a wooden one, reminds me of mom).
Melt the butter in pot.
Sweat onions (sweat always means lid on) until translucent. About 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add garlic, celery, fennel and thyme and continue to sweat, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes or so.
Singer (sounds like sanjay and is a French cooking term meaning to sprinkle flour over cooking ingredients). Stir to coat vegetables with flour.
Sauté ( French cooking term for medium heat and near constant movement) until the flour starts to brown at the bottom of the pot, this means the flour is cooked and it also adds flavor (this brown stuff is known as fond in French cooking).
Add water. Try to stir at the same time so as to break up the fond and incorporate it into the liquid.
Increase heat to medium high or stirring until you reach a boil.
Add potato, the heat will go down due to the addition of the new items so you don’t need to adjust your heat yet.
Stir until you reach a boil.
Add corn and salmon, again, the heat will naturally go down so do not adjust it.
Bring to a boil while stirring.
Turn heat down to a simmer and place lid almost completely on. Leaving an inch or so of open space for steam to escape keeps moisture from collecting on the underside of your lid. That moisture, or water would drip back down into your soup, watering down the flavor.
Simmer for 5 minutes to ensure salmon is cooked.
Season with salt and pepper.
I tend to use frozen salmon fillets from Wholefoods. They come 6 to a pack, skin-on and they are so universal. We make crispy skin salmon almost once a week if I remember to pull the fillets out of the freezer in time to thaw. If I don’t remember, I simply bake them skin side down for 40 minutes directly from the freezer. In the case of this chowder, you obviously want skinless salmon. That means you have to buy fresh fish from the fish counter or you have to pull your salmon out in the morning to thaw it in time for dinner. It is easier to remove the skin without taking too much flesh when salmon is NOT frozen.