As you may or may not know, I have a shellfish allergy. Well, my food allergies don’t stop at shellfish, but that’s all I’m willing to admit to today. I’m filled with envy and ugh when guests come to the shore and want clam chowder (you know who you are Liz, Mike, Sammy and Andy). So, this recipe is for me. It’s a shellfish-free fish chowder to be made with local Barnegat Light caught fish.
Viking Village Fish Chowder
4 slices think-cut bacon or 2 Tb olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 bay leaves
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
5 cups fish stock or water
1 lb. red potatoes, cut into 3/4” cubes
1 ½ lbs. haddock, flounder or cod filets, boneless and skinless
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
Kosher salt or Sea Salt
Paprika or Piment d’Espelette, to taste
Kernels from 2 ears of corns, garnish
Place a large soup or stock pot over medium heat. Add bacon slices and cook to render the fat. Remove the bacon when crisp and set aside for later, leaving the fat in the pot. (Not a treif eater. Forgo the bacon and add 2 Tb olive oil to the pot.) Add celery onion and garlic . Cook until onions turn translucent and vegetables begin to soften about 10 minutes. Add potatoes thyme and bay leaf and cook for 5 more minutes.
Pour stock into pot with the vegetables and potatoes. Cover, and simmer over medium heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Add fish filets and cover and simmer for 10 minutes. With fish still in pot, flake fish with tongs. Stir in milk and cream. Gently heat through – do not boil. Discard bay leaf and thyme stems. Season to taste with salt, pepper and paprika. Ladle into bowls and garnish with corn kernels and crumbled bacon. Serves 6.