Writing and sharing food with friends is a delight, hardly something that warrants reprieve. However, even the work we enjoy benefits from our stepping back, reflecting, loosening our grip (or its grip) from time to time. It was hard to lay aside the routine of writing last week, though not completely unplugged from reading my favorite blogs, checking comments, and dabbling in social media.
It was not a harsh winter making me long for a respite, it has been so mild and dry several ski areas are already closed. It was the pace, schedules and deadlines, and the anticipation of lengthy to-do lists I gratefully shed. Taking a break from posting content allowed for a time of input rather than output, which brought refreshing and retooling. Cookbook reviews, photography lessons, blog maintenance, and menu planning would all be there when I settled in behind the keyboard again.
Of course, there was plenty to fill the time—cooking with a friend, garden/yard work, recipe testing, and our daughter’s commitment to the Easter production of The Thorn (see note below)—it was far from the lazy days of summer. I don’t know about you, but it seems “free” time fills faster than … well, faster than you can free it up, that is for sure.
It was a glorious week of record high temperatures and sun-kissed faces, everyone grateful for a well-timed spring break. A perfect 75 degrees concluded a week of such bliss, the softest of breezes caressing our bare toes propped on lounge chairs. Tender feet hidden away for months in bulky socks and slippers were ready to soak in sunbeams. With a book in-hand and my sweetheart beside me, deciding where to nap was the only goal for a day so lovely.
Good thing we took the time to enjoy it too. Spring weather in Colorado swings wildly from one day to the next, so a forecast of snow tonight is no surprise to those on the Front Range. Blustering wind and grey clouds hanging like a canopy cannot dampen our enthusiasm for the green mist of budding trees filling the skyline. Last week all I could think about was grilling, now I want chili and chowder, my food cravings as fickle as the weather.
Salmon Dill Chowder is ideal for this seasonal bridge between winter and summer. Creamy broth, luscious wild salmon, and hearty potatoes deliver on comfort without the usual long-simmering aspect of soup. Not intended to “feed an army” or freeze for later, it is to comfort only until our toes can slip into sandals once more.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, April 2004, Ruth CousineauPrint
Salmon Dill Chowder
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4-6
- 1 pound salmon fillet
- 3 tablespoons butter — melted
- 1 tablespoon Paul Prudhomme Blackened Redfish Magic
- 6 slices bacon — cut across the slices into 1/4″ strips
- 3/4 cup onion — chopped fine, about 1/2 large onion
- 2 cloves garlic — minced, or 2 teaspoon jarred garlic
- 3 ribs celery — diced, about 1 1/2 cup
- 4 medium red potatoes — washed, unpeeled, cut into 1/4″ cubes, about 4 cups
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill fronds — chopped, or 1-2 teaspoons dried dill, added 1 teaspoon at a time, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper — or ground black pepper
- Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Brush skin-side of the salmon with melted butter and place skin-side down in the pot. Brush the salmon flesh with butter and sprinkle with blackened seasoning. (Reserve remaining butter.) Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a platter and set aside. While the fish is cooking, prep bacon and vegetables.
- In the same pot, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned and crisp (about 5 minutes); transfer to paper towels to drain. Continue to prep remaining vegetables while bacon cooks.
- Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons fat from pan and add the onion. Cook onion over medium heat until just beginning to brown at the edges, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, potatoes, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften. (Add a little bacon fat if pan seems too dry.)
- Stir-in stock (more can be added so the vegetables are covered in stock) and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add milk, bring the soup back to a simmer, cover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.
- Break up salmon into bite-size pieces and add to the soup with any accumulated juices from the plate. Add half the bacon, dill, pepper, remaining melted butter, and simmer gently 3-4 minutes to meld flavors. Adjust dill, salt, and pepper, to taste.
- Ladle into warmed bowls, garnish with remaining bacon, and serve.
Soup can be thickened by pureeing 1-2 cups of the soup in a blender then added back in, if desired. Sweet potatoes can be substituted for half the red potatoes. To thin the soup, add equal amounts of chicken stock and milk.
- Serving Size: 4
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