Smoky Salmon Chowder
By Chef John Ash
A hearty chowder that is the definition of comfort food, especially on chilly nights.
Difficulty Level Medium
3 Slices Thick sliced smoked bacon, diced
2 tbs Butter
3 C Leeks, white and light-green parts, thinly sliced
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Hot smoked paprika
1/3 C Dry white vermouth or white wine
3 C Fish, chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 lbs Fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/4-in rounds or quarters
1/2 tsp Crushed fennel seeds
1 C Crème fraîche
10 oz Skinned and boned salmon fillet, cut into 2-in chunks
1 small Bunch spinach, separated into leaves with large stems removed
Garnish Drizzle of smoked olive oil, optional*
In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, brown bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
Spoon off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pot. Add butter and let melt. Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are soft but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Stir in paprika and vermouth and simmer until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. cook 1 minute. Stir in stock, 1 cup water, potatoes and fennel and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in crème fraîche until smooth. Add fish and cook until just opaque, 2 to 4 minutes. Use a fork to flake fish into large pieces if desired. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Divide spinach in the bottoms of warmed bowls and ladle soup over. Sprinkle on reserved bacon and serve immediately.