Vera’s Seafood Chowder

This is a very filling soup that is actually a recipe of my mum's that we have been making on and off in the restaurant for years. Use the very best quality fish and shellfish for the best flavour

Ingredients


  • 1 tblsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tblsp butter, softened
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice
  • 1/2 small leek, cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice
  • 1 tblsp plain flour
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) dry white wine
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint) fish stock (page 254)
  • 100 g (4oz) skinless salmon fillet, cut into cubes
  • 100 g (4oz) smoked coley fillet, cut into cubes
  • 100 g (4oz) cooked mussel meat
  • 100 g (4oz) cooked peeled prawns
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) cream
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tblsp parsley oil (page 250), to garnish
  • fresh micro salad, to garnish

Fish stock (makes 1.2 litres)
  • makes about 1.2 litres (2 pints)
  • 250 g (9oz) white fish trimmings and/or bones (such as lemon sole, brill or plaice bones)
  • 3 leeks, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • large handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 175 ml (6fl oz) dry white wine

Parsley Oil (makes about 100ml)
  • 100 g (4oz) fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 100 ml (3 1/2fl oz) rapeseed oil
  • sea salt

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and then add the butter. Once it stops sizzling, tip in the potatoes, onion, carrot and leek and cook for 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the flour and cook on a low heat for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Season to taste.
  2. Gradually pour the wine into the pan and allow it to bubble down, stirring continuously. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the salmon and coley and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the mussel meat, prawns and cream and simmer for another 2–3 minutes, until warmed through. Stir in the herbs and season to taste.
  3. To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish each one with the parsley oil and micro salad.
Fish stock
  1. Rinse the fish bones and trimmings of any blood, which would make the stock look cloudy and taste bitter. Place into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot with the leeks, carrots, fennel and parsley.
  2. Pour in the white wine, then add 2.4 litres (4 pints) cold water to cover the fish and vegetables. Place on a high heat and bring to a simmer. After 5 minutes, remove the scum that forms on the surface with a spoon and discard. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes, skimming as necessary.
  3. At the end of the cooking time, remove the stock from the heat and strain, discarding the fish trimmings and the vegetables. Cool and store in a plastic covered jug in the fridge and use as required.
Parsley oil
  1. Pick the leaves from the parsley and place in a mini blender, discarding the stalks. Add the rapeseed oil and a pinch of salt and blend for 5 minutes, until completely smooth.
  2. Pass the parsley mixture through a fine sieve into a jug and then transfer to a squeezy bottle. Use as required.

Notes:

Neven's tips: This soup can be made up to 24 hours in advance and kept covered in the fridge. Just be careful when reheating not to allow it to come to the boil or the fish will lose its texture. Splash out on a rosé Champagne, rosé Cava or a ripe Chardonnay from Macon in Burgundy.

This recipe and many more are available in Neven Maguire's The MacNean Restaurant Cookbook, published by Gill & MacMillan Books and available to buy here.





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