Sunday, November 1, 2009
Ahhh. The first day of standard time in America, complete with it's precious extra hour of leisure time. Today we enjoyed sunshine and warmer outdoor temperatures than we have in many days. I stepped outside early this morning to pull back the frontals of my tomato tent so that the sun could shine on my crop. The plants and the fruits are still growing large and beautiful; I'm still hoping they will ripen in time for Thanksgiving.
During the weeks just prior to this glorious day, all the rainfall and blustery winds, the falling leaves and the scent of wood smoke in the neighborhood brought on a craving for cold weather comfort food. This year, I became hyper-focused on perfecting a new Salmon Chowder, one that doesn't rely on milk or animal fats for it's flavor, one that pays homage to this gleaming gift from the sea by relying on the flavor profile of the fish to satisfy the palate.
It seems my new friend, the fishmonger, at Whole Foods/Interbay shared my reverence for this gorgeous food. We selected the perfect side and when I told him it was for chowder, he immediately asked, "Would you like me to skin the fillet and cut it up for you?" I still smile when I think about it. What a nice guy!
It just so happened that Wellshire Dry-Rubbed Pork Bacon was on BOGO sale that day, so I bought one for use in chowder and one to freeze for the future. This is a tasty bacon, leaner than most, free from gluten contamination and hormones, antibiotics, etc. Now home to craft a new base for the meal.
Click on "Read More" (next line) for recipe and prep details.
HypFoods Savory Salmon Chowder
1 bag Cascadian Farms Organic Tater Tots (#TT is a trendy food in Seattle at present)
OR 1/2 lb of cubed red potatoes, boiled and drained
1/2 lb sliced bacon (hormone-, chemical-,gluten-free)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh organic lemon thyme
1 organic bay leaf
2 C organic LITE coconut milk
1 C unsweetened almond milk (vanilla flavor is okay here)
1 C herbacious medium dry white wine
1 C steeped Bija Cold Stop tea (or a low caffeine green tea if Bija is not available)
1.5 lb salmon fillet (the tail section has fewer bones), skinless & cut in 1-inch cubes
1/2 tsp Kathy Casey's Dish D'Lish French Seasoning Salt (or blend of your choice)
Begin by lining two cookie sheets with foil. Place the potatoes in one. Place a cake cooling rack in the other and lay out the bacon on the rack. Bake both at 425 degrees until browned and crispy, keeping an eye on the bacon drippings that they don't overflow the pan. By oven roasting the bacon, you can cook off most of the bacon fat. I chose to roast the potatoes because I wanted the crispy finished edges in the chowder.
While the roasting is in progress, add a little olive oil and a little walnut oil to a heavy skillet and heat to medium. Walnut oil tolerates higher temperatures than olive and also gives a nice mouth feel that satisfies in lieu of butter while being heart healthy at the same time!
Sauté the fish gently, turning each piece carefully, until each has turned an opaque pastel color on all sides. Sautéeing in this dish serves to kill any unfriendly microbes on the fish and to concentrate the flavor of the salmon while eliminating the "fishy" taste that puts some people off.
Check the roasting process and turn the bacon slices over to brown on the second side.
Remove the sautéed salmon to a warm bowl and add the wine to the skillet. Deglaze the pan and remove the skillet from the heat. Place a heavy dutch oven on medium heat and add the lite coconut milk and the almond milk. Heat gently to a low boil, then simmer for 5 mins or so.
Meanwhile, place the potatoes and the bacon in a food processor and shred to a consistency like chopped nuts. Add the shredded potatoes and bacon to the dutch oven, along with the tea, the thyme, and the wine/pan drippings from deglazing. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then add the salmon along with the seasoned salt and stew on low heat until the flavors have blended to your liking.
Garnish with chopped chives, chopped scallion greens or chopped avocado (choosing avocado increases cholesterol exposure in this dish). Serve with piping hot biscuits or an oven-fresh loaf of gluten-free hot bread and a green salad.