Eventide Fish Chowder
Clam chowder is the New England classic everyone knows, but fish chowder is also popular — and a lot easier to make. This recipe comes from Eventide, in Portland, Maine, a combination of a seafood shack, an oyster bar and a modern farm-to-table restaurant with Japanese influences. Dashi, the Japanese fish stock, has an oceanic taste that is perfect here, and the instant kind is easy to buy online and keep on hand.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1pound boneless, skinless cod fillet, about 1-inch thick
- Kosher salt
- 1pound sea scallops (or use more cod, some hake or another firm fish)
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1medium white or yellow onion, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1pound all-purpose potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- ¼pound bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (optional)
- 2quarts fish stock or dashi (Japanese fish broth, such as Hondashi bonito soup stock)
- 1to 2 fresh thyme sprigs, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1cup heavy cream
- Toasted nori sheets or seaweed snacks, crumbled into very small pieces, or dried seaweed flakes (optional)
- Snipped chives or minced scallion greens, for serving
Step 1In a small pan over low heat, toast the peppercorns until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Coarsely grind and set aside.
Step 2Trim cod of any pin bones or bits of skin and cut into 1-inch cubes. Lightly salt the cubes all over and set aside on paper towels to drain. Rinse scallops very lightly under cold water. Cut into half-moons and set aside on paper towels to drain. Keep seafood refrigerated until ready to use.
Step 3In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is just sizzling, add onion and potatoes and cook, stirring, until the onions start to melt and the potatoes are gold at the edges, about 5 minutes.
Step 4Meanwhile, if using bacon, cook the strips in a hot skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside on paper towels to drain.
Step 5Add stock, thyme and toasted peppercorns to pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. The potatoes should not be cooked through.
Step 6Stir in cream and heat through over low heat. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
Step 7Just before serving, with the chowder simmering over low heat, stir in seafood and simmer until potatoes are soft and seafood is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon.
Step 8Ladle the chowder into bowls. You want each serving to be around 2 parts broth to 1 part chunky goodness. Use your fingers to crush the nori into powdery bits, if using, and sprinkle over the top of each serving. Place about 1 teaspoon chives in the center of each bowl and serve immediately.