Smoky Salmon and Fennel Chowder

By • August 8, 2014 2 Comments

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Author Notes: I am a New Englander at heart, yet I moved away from Boston nearly 20 years ago to live in Europe. Each summer (and fall, winter, spring) I would crave and miss a good chowder, so I learned to make my own. Littleneck clams were hard to come by, so I experimented with different fish. Salmon was readily available and quickly became my favorite fish to use. Its thick flesh and buttery flavor was a perfect match to the creamy soup, and adding flaked warm-smoked salmon to the mix achieved the smoky oomph that all chowders should have. Fennel is another favorite addition, adding a fresh crunch and anise notes that complement the flavors of the soup.TasteFood

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Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, fronds removed and reserved, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 pound yukon gold potatoes cut into 1/2-inch pieces (peeling optional)
  • 1 pound salmon filet, skin and pin bones removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 ounces warm smoked salmon, flaked
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil and melt the butter in a deep skillet or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel and 1 teaspoon salt. Saute until the onion and fennel soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the water and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer until the potatoes are tender but not too soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the salmon, cream and black pepper. Simmer until the salmon is cooked through and the chowder is hot, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Taste for salt - depending on how salty the salmon is, you may need more. Serve hot, garnished with chopped fennel sprigs and extra pepper.

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