~ Menu ~
Seafood Chowder without ...
Hot and Potent Pepper Wine!
A glass of Sauvignon Blanc
You know when you have a little this or that leftover and it's 'not worth keeping'? Well it is, so there!
I keep several collecting boxes in my freezer; bread scraps, meat scraps and fish scraps, for instance. This last collection came delightfully into play today when I made myself some Seafood Chowder.
This was a good idea I had when I was cooking at the Tamarind Club in
theory it was a cunning plan to use up all the fishy scraps we had left over after
preparing whole fish for other dishes. Sadly it became so popular, especially after I
had My Other Good Idea, that we were making gallons of the stuff two or three
times a day.
2 medium onions - coarsely chopped
2 carrots - coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks - coarsely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil.
3 medium potatoes - peeled and thinly sliced
fish stock or water
a collection of fish scraps
~ Gently sweat the onion, carrot and celery in the oil till softening and just starting to colour.
~ Add the potatoes and add just enough water or stock to cover.
~ Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and cook till the potatoes are tender.
~ Whilst this is cooking prepare your fishy scraps. As I say this was originally a use up recipe and we had, to my mind, three categories of fish to use up: 1) raw fish, 2) raw shellfish, 3) cooked fish and shellfish. So, whatever you have of these categories, cut into similar sized pieces but keep separately in their groups.
~ When the potato is tender mash with a potato masher (grumpy or not!) so that they are almost smooth but a little chunkiness remains.
~ Taste and season and add milk or cream or a mixture to make a rich thick soup.
~ Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and add the raw fish scraps.
~ Return to only just boiling, add the raw shellfish, return to only just boiling one more time and add cooked fish and shellfish.
~ Immediately turn off heat and allow the chowder to sit a few minutes to allow the last addition to heat through.
~ If using later REHEAT GENTLY.
My Other Good Idea ...
...was to serve the chowder with a pretty glass bottle of “Pepper Wine” for drizzling purposes. In this case, as is often the way in the
Caribbean, pepper means chilli and wine means rum. A little really contrasts with and enhances
the creaminess of the soup.
Just bung some dried chillies or even pepper flakes in a bottle of rum and wait a few weeks. After this went on the menu there was no going back.
This chowder featured in possibly the most bizarre thing I have ever cooked – soup fritters. We had a very on/off function pending and, eventually, it was off, Then suddenly one Sunday afternoon, half way through a busy brunch, I was told it was on again. Eighty people were due in a couple of hours hoping for up-market nibbly bits. I would have liked to panic but didn’t have the time.
What I did do was make fish cakes out of the remains of the seafood chowder. I can’t remember how but if I had to do it today this is what I would do. Strain the chowder, reserving all lumps, and bring the juices to a boil. Thicken quite substantially with a beurre manie (flour and butter munged together) and whisked in. Cook a few minutes and cool a while. Mix in reserved fish etc. and enough breadcrumbs to make a malleable consistency. Taste and flavour up – lime zest and hot sauce spring to mind. Spread onto a cooled shallow dish and chill to firm. Roll into balls, flatten, coat in breadbrumbs (panko are great) and shallow fry to crisp and golden. They were such a success people asked for the recipe but I was too embarrassed to tell them.
In Other News ...
I saw poppies in flower yesterday here Up North. Um ... can't think of anything else surprising to write about.