We are always looking for new ways to use the delicious filets of salmon that we bring in fresh daily. Recently I came across a recipe for Salmon Chowder and decided to give it a try! Being from the East coast I had never heard of this popular Northwestern dish so I deferred to Chef Chester 'Chet' Gerl and Dan Bugge of Matt's in the Market in Seattle, WA and used their recipe with a few modifications.
Step 1 - Make the shell stock! For this I used:
- 1/2 Tsp. oil
- 1/2 Tsp. bacon fat (you will be using bacon in the chowder so I recommend cooking our Applewood Smoked Bacon first and using some of the fat from it to impart more of that delicious smoky flavor our bacon has)
- 1 Lbs. of shrimp or prawn shells
- 1/2 of a roughly chopped onion
- 1 bunch of thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp peppercorns
- 1 peeled lemon
- 1 seeded and diced roma tomato
- 1 1/2 cup white wine
- 6 cups water
Add everything except the wine and water into a medium sized pot and sweat together on medium/low heat for 5 minutes. Then, add the white wine and let reduce for 1 minute. Next, add the water and allow to simmer together for an hour. Strain and set aside. The smell of this stock is intoxicating! The scent of shrimp, lemon and white wine transport you to straight to a beachfront five star restaurant.
Step 2 - Make the chowder!
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large sweet onions, cut into large dice
- 1/2 Lbs. Organic Butcher Applewood Smoked Bacon, cooked and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 stalk celery, cut into large dice
- 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into large dice
- 1 Tsp minced fresh thyme
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Lbs. wild king salmon, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- dill for garnish
In a large sauce pan sweat the onion, celery, and bacon in the oil until the vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes). Then, add the potatoes and sweat together for an additional 5 minutes. Add the thyme, shell stock and cream together and bring to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once the vegetables are almost fully tender add the cubed king salmon and continue cooking for another few minutes until the salmon is cooked through.
We recommend using our Wild King Salmon for this recipe since we are in peak Salmon season. This troll-caught salmon is coming in daily for either Washington State or Alaska and has a very high in oil content due to the fact that it being caught at sea before they make their long trip down river which will deplete them of all their healthy oils.
Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to your preferred taste. I garnished mine with extra bacon and dill.
I decided to pair this dish with our 2012 Montinore Pinot Noir. This is a complex wine with a bold palate of cherries, black plums, vanilla and smoke which is balanced beautifully by some bright acidity. This wine might seem heavy for the dish at first but due to subtle parallel flavors of sweetness, smoke and citrus they end up complimenting each other perfectly.
This is such an easy and delicious take on Salmon! Here is a link to the original recipe and I highly recommend giving it a try! This dish can even be made dairy free by making a roux with 2 Tbsp. of flour after you sweat the vegetables together. By doing this, the chowder retains the thick texture of a proper chowder without the dairy!