24 February 2011

sockeye salmon chowder

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

2010 saw the largest spawning of sockeye salmon in over a century in B.C. Over 35 million of them did the deed.

This came after a disastrous 2009 when only 1 million sockeye spawned. Things were so bad that year that the government held a judicial inquiry into the decimation of sockeye salmon stocks in British Columbia, gravely warning that they were soon to become extinct.

We had our fair share of fresh sockeye last season, served in as many ways possible. Fish were so plentiful that we bought them right off the boat, less than half a mile away from home.

A friend gave us some home-canned salmon from the local catch. With the weather now cold, a hot chowder was a good way to relive memories of summer.

For the fish broth:
2 sockeye salmon heads
1 celery stalk cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 carrot cut into 1-2 inch pieces
3 green onions
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fish sauce
½ cup white wine

For chowder:
6 cups fish broth
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 red-skinned potatoes (unpeeled), cubed
2 cups canned or frozen corn kernels
1 onion, finely diced
3 large celery stalk, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
6 tsp. (or more to taste) fresh dill
Lemon zest and juice from one whole lemon
1 lb. (500 g) canned sockeye salmon, crumbled in large pieces
1-2 cups frozen langostina (Trader Joe’s)
2 cup light cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Old Bay seasoning to taste
Everyday Seasoning and lemon pepper to taste (both Trader Joe’s)
Sugar (not sure how much… just a little bit, to taste)
Dried crispy crumbled seaweed

Place broth and flour in slow cooker. Whisk until flour is completely dissolved. Mix in potatoes, corn, onion, celery, garlic, wine and some of the dill. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until vegetables are tender. Transfer soup to stove. Mix in salmon, cream, lemon juice and zest. Add seasonings and more dill to taste. Cover and cook for an hour. Sprinkle servings with crumbled seaweed. Serve with sourdough bread and butter.

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