Wild Salmon Chowder

Wild Salmon Chowder

Chowder is one of my favourite things to eat. Whenever I see chowder on a menu I choose it. In anticipation of its arrival at my table, I wonder what will be swimming about in the bowl: will there be a variety of fish?, will there be mussels?, will the stock be thick or thin? To eat chowder in different places is to take part in a big adventure. So, it was with some trepidation that I undertook Angela Nilsen's recipe in The Soup Book.

Wild salmon chowder: starring the spouse's new saute pan.
The finished chowder absorbs the flavours of the dill and grated lemon zest.
Among the ingredients are streaky bacon, spring onions, thyme, bay leaves, small waxy potatoes, fish or chicken stock, salmon fillets, cream, dill and lemon zest. You need a wide, deep saute pan (I wish I could insert diacritics!), and serendipitously the spouse had bought one during the week - a big beast of a pan! I started by crisping up the chopped bacon, then removed it and set it aside. (Crispy bacon bits are always enticing!) Then I fried the spring onions, thyme and bay leaves before adding the sliced potatoes. In a separate pan I began thickening the stock. When ready, this was poured over the potatoes in the saute pan. When the potatoes were just tender, in went the salmon chunks. Next the pan was removed from the heat, the cream was poured over the mix, and the grated lemon zest and chopped dill were scattered over the top. I left it to sit for a few minutes, then re-warmed it gently and served it with the chopped bacon.

It was one of the best soups I've made. That said, there are things I would do differently the next time I make it. I would slice the potatoes more thinly to ensure they cook thoroughly and I would cut the salmon into slightly smaller chunks. Also, I would ensure I had a batch of homemade stock. Due to the pre-holiday freezer clear-out last month I am still using commercial stock cubes and find their salty after-taste rather unpleasant.We're having roast chicken for dinner today, so the stockpot will be out later.

Bacon added and we're ready to eat.

Bee Aware

The last week has been hectic. The older offspring has left home to continue his studies across the water. This has involved three different organisational approaches: his, mine and his father's. The latter approaches are probably more in alignment, but contain slightly different degrees of emotional output. Anyway, the older offspring is gone. It's done and his room is dusted. A new project is biding its time, namely the younger offspring's aim of moving into his brother's (bigger) room. He thinks he'll be in by Christmas. We'll see.

Back to my week's reading.
From The Irish Times: Bees that pass you are 'flying pharmacies'
From The Guardian: Pam Ayres: My family values  ; Gardens: Foraging in your own back yard (see the item on bergamot)

And finally, in Benjamin Black's A Death in Summer I came across this reference to the main protagonist's childhood in the west of Ireland:
That was his west. They were trying to sell it now to the Americans as the land of trout streams and honey-bees and Paul Henry skies. 
Further on in a scene set in Cap Ferrat the protagonist (Dr Quirke) casts his eye over "honey-hued girls in skimpy swimsuits". A Death in Summer is the fourth Benjamin Black (the pseudonym of John Banville) novel I've read. The stories are set in 1950s' Dublin and I think he conveys the grimness of the times (not that I was alive then!).


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