Last weekend Jediah and I went to Portland and stopped in at Brown Trading Co. on the way out of town to grab some lunch for the road. It was a tough one between a Maine smoked salmon & cream cheese sandwich on focaccia bread or the Maine haddock-scallop chowder. The chowder won out, based on the cream cheese smothered bagel from Scratch Baking Co. that we ate for breakfast.
Hence the reason for this post, the chowder was incredible, and I knew at once that I had to recreate it. I don’t want to toot-my-own-horn or anything, but I think the flavors are not only comparable, but really, really good. The creamy broth is light instead of thickened with flour or cornstarch, while the seasonings are little surprising but simple. I actually felt like I was recalling some Spanish flavors with olive oil from Spain, using potatoes, amd smokey Spanish paprika. Paprika adds a really subtle smokiness to the chowder, without using some sort of smoked meat as well as adds a gorgeous color to the broth.
I hope you try this with whatever white fish looks good where you live; for me it was hake & the scallops are in season in Maine. I served mine with little oyster crackers, a French rose for me, and Jediah had a local pale ale.
White Fish & Scallop Chowder
4 TBL butter
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (I using tend to prefer the flavor of Spanish olive oil)
1 onion, peeled & diced
2 celery stalks (leaves as well), thinly sliced
3-4 starchy yellow potatoes, diced into bite sized bits
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves pulled off & chopped
1/2 tsp. Spanish sweet paprika (I love La Chinata)
sea salt & cracked pepper to taste
3/4 lb. fresh, wild caught white fish (haddock, hake, cod)
.5 lb. (about 6) sea scallops, halved or quartered
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup organic half & half or whole milk, warmed in a small pot
- In a large stock pot over medium heat the add butter & oil. Let melt a bit, then add the onions, celery, potatoes, rosemary, paprika & seasoning. Cover, but stir often. After about 10 minutes the onions should be about lucid.
- Add the broth, cover & bring up to a boil. Once boiled, reduce heat & simmer for about 23-30 minutes.
After about a half hour, add the whole piece of fish & scallops. Continue cooking covered for 15 minutes.
- Uncover & turn heat down to low. Add warmed milk slowly, making sure it does not split (although it should not it you warm it over the oven).
Stir together. You can serve it right away or leave it on the oven on low for a bit before you serve it to really let the flavors marry.