I was so nervous eating this fresh fish chowder. I have a lactose sensitivity (thank goodness it’s not an intolerance, I couldn’t give up my small amounts of whipped cream, cheese, etc.). It’s not that I can’t eat milk products, I just have to be careful and enjoy them in moderation. And, if I think there might be a problem, take preventative measures by ingesting a “dairy digestive supplement” before the meal. This meal calls for heavy whipping cream… so I took two. Because I wanted to enjoy both this dish and the rest of the meal.
Chef Mark offered to make a soup just for me with a tomato broth as the base. This would have made it lactose free. However, despite his generosity, I declined because I really wanted to taste the chowder recipe as it was meant to be.
If I make this recipe again at home (probably during the winter when we tend to enjoy more soups), I will try out the tomato broth and exclude the cream.
This part of the demo was especially fun, because not only did Chef Mark teach us how to choose fish from the store, he also taught us how to cut a whole fish into fillets. He even allowed someone from the audience to give it a try! (Unfortunately, I didn’t speak up fast enough to try, but I’m confident that, with the right knife, I wouldn’t do a terrible job filleting a fish!)
Have you made fish chowder at home? What kind of soup base do you enjoy? Cream? Tomato? Something else entirely?
Fresh Fish Chowder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
- 1 teaspoon butter – approximate cost $0.10
- 2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped (about 2 cups) – approximate cost $1.00
- 1/2 cup dry white wine – approximate cost $1.50
- 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes – approximate cost $1.50
- 1 1/2 cups clam juice – approximate cost $1.50
- 1 bay leaf – approximate cost $0.05
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme – approximate cost $0.10
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt – approximate cost $0.10
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
- 2 pounds firm white fish (such as sea bass), pin bones removed, fillets cut into 2-inch pieces – approximate cost $20.00
- 1 1/2 cups heavy (or whipping) cream (so the brother won’t curdle, do not substitute milk) – approximate cost $2.00
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley – approximate cost $0.10
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the onions and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
- Add the wine.
- Cook uncovered until the wine reduces by half.
- Add the potatoes, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer.
- Lower heat to medium setting.
- Cook, covered, until the potatoes are almost done (10-15 minutes).
- Lower heat to low setting.
- Add fish pieces and cream to the pot of potatoes.
- Cook over low heat, uncovered, until the fish is just cooked through (about 10 minutes).
- Mix in the parsley.
- Allow soup to rest for 30 minutes before serving (the flavours will improve).
- Serve with a side of fresh bread.
Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $4.68 per serving).