This is the perfect warming bowl after you get home cold and hungry from the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The genius thing is it only takes about 20 minutes to make and is filling enough for dinner.
I recently saw Irish chef Kevin Dundon of Dunbrody House in Wexford on TV making the fish chowder they serve in the hotel. It looked so easy and delicious that I couldn’t wait to make my own version. In Chicago, we don’t have the same selection of fish that they have in Ireland, so I improvised using the wild fish my local supermarket had available. I even threw in half a can of wild Alaskan salmon that I was leftover from lunch. What makes this chowder Irish is the smoked salmon, but other than that, feel free to use any other fish and seafood available to you. I have converted everything into American measurements.
Nil geal an gaire ach san ait a mbionn an biadh — laughter is brightest were the food is best. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
If you like this recipe, please share it. If you make it, please come back and comment and let me know how you made it your own.
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 small leek, cleaned and chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small carrot, diced
- 2 medium red potatoes peeled and cubed
- 2 oz. smoked salmon, cut into strips
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups fish or seafood stock (I used Swanson's seafood stock in a box)
- 1/4 lb. sockeye salmon, cut into bite size pieces and skin removed.
- 1/4 pound cod, cut into bite size pieces and skin removed
- 1/4 pound haddock, cut into bite size pieces and skin removed
- 6 Key West shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tbsp. chopped, fresh tarragon
- 1/2 cup cream
- salt and pepper
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.
- Add leek, onion, carrot, potato and smoked salmon. Saute for a few minutes until the vegetables soften
- Pour in the wine and allow the liquid to reduce by half.
- Add the fish or seafood stock. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then add the fresh fish and shellfish.
- Bring the pot back to a simmer. Add the tarragon, cream, salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Serve in bowls with fresh bread and butter
One of my friends call this roasted salmon “the beautiful dinner.” There is no doubt that this is a dish that rises to the occasion. I’ve made it for a gathering to support a friend whose mother had passed away and more recently for a special birthday dinner. Even the birthday girl’s husband — a notoriously picky eater who is usually just so-so about salmon — asked for second helpings.
Since the flavor of the salmon shines through this simple preparation it is important to buy the best salmon you can find. In general, wild salmon will have the best flavor, but it is not available fresh year round. When wild salmon is out of season, seek out a fish monger who sells sustainably farmed fish. I recently found sweet, melt in your mouth, salmon from Loch Duairt, Scotland at Dirk’s Fish Market in Chicago.
I was inspired by a recipe for whole, baked salmon in Colman Andrew’s “The Country Cooking of Ireland.” Since I don’t often see whole salmon in Chicago fish markets, I typically use a large salmon fillet. I usually serve it with boiled new potatoes in their skins with lots of Irish butter or roasted fingerling potatoes and a spinach gratin.
Almost as delicious is leftover cold salmon for lunch the next day served with a peppery watercress mayonnaise. Watercress is salmon’s natural partner — what grows together goes together. As a bonus, the bright spring green mayo served with the pink fish is a beautiful plate. To make the mayonnaise, puree a bunch of trimmed and finely chopped watercress in a food processor with two tablespoons of mayonnaise. Stir the watercress puree into a cup of mayonnaise.
Roasted Salmon with Lemon Butter
The flavor of the fish shines through this simple recipe, so use the best salmon you can find.
- 2 lb./ 1 kg. salmon fillets
- 1/4 cup/ 60 kg. Irish butter softened
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C.
- With some of the butter, lightly grease a roasting pan
- Lay the salmon fillet on the greased pan.
- Drizzle the lemon juice over the fish.
- Dot with about 2 Tbsp. of butter.
- Roast for 15 to 20 minutes (8 to 10 minutes per lb./15 to 20 minutes per kg.)
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cut into pieces about 3 inches/7.5 cm. wide.