I am always on the hunt for seafood recipes so of course whilst visiting my local fishmonger this week, Bay Seafood in Byron Bay, I happen to ask if anyone wanted to share one of their favourite seafood recipes with me.
They were all happy to share their passion for cooking up seafood but Marks Seafood Chowder was one that was appealing to me, it is a one pot wonder that will warm you through, it is a real comfort dish, perfect for this time of year.
Mark was originally from the States and came out to Australia in the 1970’s, surfing may have something to do with that. Chowder is a popular dish in the States so when an ex-American (Mark is an Aussie citizen since the 1980’s) offered his chowder recipe how could I resist? Thanks Mark. Enjoy!
Marks Seafood Chowder
Basic chowder ingredients :
4 large spuds peeled and diced small (25 mm)
1 Large brown onion, finely diced
1 small stalk of celery, finely diced
1 corn cob, kernels removed
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 litre of fish stock ( can substitute chicken if necessary)
1-2 cups of cream/milk or soy milk if preferred
Seafood of your choice. Choose what you like as a general rule about 600 to 800 grams of seafood in total or around 150 to 200 grams per person. Sometimes less is more….
*Boneless chunky white fillets of fish: flathead , monkfish, blue eye trevella, wahoo ask your trusty fishmonger on the day for a select item.
*Large whole green local prawns peel and reserve the shells and heads.
*Roe off local scallops or large sashimi quality roe off scallops
*Local Spanner crab meat. * local fresh squid. *Clams
Any or all of these can be used its your choice you could use for instance: Fish with scallops or crab meat with prawns , or simply clam chowder.
In a large soup pot sweat off the diced onion and celery until clear but not browned with butter and some olive oil. Add the garlic and cook on for another few moments then add the diced spuds stirring to coat with garlic oil and onion/celery mix then add the corn and the stock if there is not enough stock to cover the potatoes add some water bring to boil and simmer until the spuds are cooked through. With a potato masher lightly mash the potatoes so that they break up slightly but still mostly retain their shape as this will assist in thickening the chowder. Season to taste. This is the base chowder for any of the seafood you would like to use.
When this is done add your seafood selection by cutting into pieces (chunky or fine it’s up to you) . You can lightly pan fry the seafood or just add it directly to the chowder and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to just cook the seafood through. Add cream milk or soy until you get the desired colour you feel looks right then simmer but do not boil. Thicken if desired with a tablespoon or two of cornflour in milk and stir through. Garnish with some chopped parsley and enjoy with crusty bread….
*when using prawns reserve the shells and heads add them to a frying pan with a dog of butter and lightly mash the heads and shells frying until bright red then deglaze the pan with a cup of water reduce then strain the shells out retaining the liquid for a real flavour boost to add with thee stock.
*or a smokey flavour 50 grams of smoked salmon cooked off with the onions at the start is a great flavour addition and is a good alternative to bacon in the clam chowder.
*when doing clam chowder steam the clams over one or two inches of water in your colander open the clams and reserve the meat. The remaining water will have had the clam juices trickling into it and also is a great flavour boost for your soup.