Smoked Salmon Chowder
By Lisa Ahier
When we first opened the SoBo food truck, everyone and their brother in Tofino made a clam chowder – except us. At least 20 times a day we’d get a request for chowder, but I resisted until one day the request came from Artie’s mother when she was visiting from New Brunswick. “Why would you not have a chowder, dear? Everyone loves a good chowder!” I reluctantly took her advice, but just to be different I used salmon rather than clams. It’s still on the menu and is probably the most popular item we offer – proof that sometimes a mother does indeed know best!
6 Tbsp canola oil
3 large yellow onions, diced medium
3 large carrots, diced medium
6 stalks celery, diced medium
1 lb potatoes, cubed medium
4 cups fish stock
2 Tbsp dried oregano (I use Mexican Oregano)
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp salt
½ cup roasted garlic
1 small roasted red bell pepper
3 cups whipping cream
1 lb smoked salmon, boneless and roughly chopped
One 7 oz can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 lb fresh salmon, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 Tbsp fresh dill
Heat 4 Tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat and
sauté about 3 cups of the onion (reserving 2 Tbsp) with the carrots and celery for 25
minutes, or until tender. Add the potatoes, stock, oregano, basil, thyme and salt
and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
Use a food processor to puree the garlic and red pepper. Add to the soup, together
with the cream and the smoked salmon.
Use a food processor to puree the chipotles. You only need 1 Tbsp for this recipe,
but it makes sense to puree the entire can. Store the remainder in a sealed
container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Add the remaining 2 Tbsp oil to a medium-sized frying pan and heat over mediumhigh
heat. Add the fresh salmon, the remaining 2 Tbsp onion and 1 Tbsp chipotle
puree. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes then transfer to the soup pot. Simmer for 5
minutes or until the chowder is hot throughout. Garnish each bowl with a little dill.
Fish Stock – Ingredients:
½ cup olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large leek, greens only, chopped
4 lb fish bones and trimmings
2 cups dry white wine
6 quarts cold water
2 Tbsp salt
6 peppercorns, cracked
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion
and leek and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the fish and sauté for another 5 minutes.
Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 5 minutes. Add the
water, salt, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, turn down to a lazy
bubble and simmer uncovered for 1 ½ hours. Strain and use right away or let cool
and then refrigerate. This stock will last for 5 days in the fridge, and freezes
beautifully. Makes 4 quarts.
ROASTING WHOLE HEADS: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the papery
(non-root) end off the garlic head, exposing just a peek of the cloves. Lightly drizzle
the garlic with 2 Tbsp olive oil and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place the wrapped
garlic on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until soft enough
to just push the cloves out of the skins, like toothpaste.
ROASTING PEELED CLOVES: Place the peeled cloves in a saucepan, cover them with
olive oil (about ½ tsp per clove) and simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, or
until tender. Strain off the oil and keep it for cooking other recipes (it will be garlicflavoured
and can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks).
Puree or chop the softened garlic for use. Always refrigerate roasted garlic. It will
last for up to 1 week.
From: The SoBo Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at
the End of the Canadian Road
By: Lisa Ahier
Published by Appetite by Random House. Re-printed with permission
Broadcast on CBC Radio’s North by Northwest Cooking Club