Fish & Summer Vegetable Chowder

Well, this was excellent. I thought it would last for 2 meals but we ate it all at once. It’s pretty light, being mostly fish and vegetables so that was quite possible. With some good crusty bread and butter on the side, it might stretch to 3 or 4 servings, and if it was served as a first course to a larger meal it should be enough for 6 people.

If you had some corn and corn cooking water left from another meal, that would speed up the making of this soup. This is not a difficult soup to make, but getting the timing for cooking the corn and fish lined up with the cooking of the other vegetables in the butter requires a little attention. The main point, I think, is to not overcook the fish so it should not go into the pot until the vegetables are well under way.

If you do have leftovers, refrigerate them promptly and eat them the next day. I do not believe this soup will keep well for long.

2 to 6 servings
45 minutes prep time

Mix the Seasonings:
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons wheat OR barley flour
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Grind the fennel seed with the salt, then mix all the spices and flour in a small bowl. Set aside

Make the Soup:
1 medium onion
1 medium carrot
1 medium zucchini
1 small stalk of celery
4 cups water
2 medium-small cobs of corn
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup rich milk OR light cream
a sprig of basil OR a few sprigs of parsley

Trim, peel, and dice the onion, carrot, and zucchini. Wash and trim the celery, and dice.
Put the water in a heavy-bottomed soup pot and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, husk the corn. Boil the corn for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer it to a bowl or the sink, and run cold water over it until it is cool enough to handle. KEEP the pot of water in which the corn was boiled; it is the base for your soup. Leave it on the back of the stove until ready to resume.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook gently, stirring regularly.

Cut the corn from the cobs while this cooks, and return the scraped cobs to the pot of water. Simmer them while the vegetables in the skillet continue to cook. Add the fillet of fish to the corn cob pot, being sure that it is without any skin or bones, and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes.

When the vegetables in the skillet have cooked for 5 minutes, add the zucchini and mix in well; let it cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally, then mix in the corn. Continue cooking and stirring regularly for another 5 minutes or so.

Sprinkle the little bowl of seasonings over the vegetables after a few minutes and mix it in well. Once it is well absorbed and no dry white specks can be seen, slowly mix in the milk or cream. Cook gently until thickened, continuing to stir.

Remove the corn cobs from the pot of soup, and discard them. Break the cooked fish into large flakes with a spoon. Mix the skillet of vegetables and cream into the soup. Let the soup sit and steam on the edge of simmering for another 5 minutes or so, but do not let it boil. Sprinkle with the basil or parsley and serve.

Last year at this time I made Green Bean & Cauliflower Salad in Gremolata-Tahini Dressing.

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