Creamy Seafood Chowder
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 to 8 as a first course
I love seafood chowders. This quick and easy recipe incorporates fish, shrimp and scallops in a delicious creamy base, It is equally appropriate as a main dish for a family dinner or appetizer for a special occasion. The red pepper purée adds a subtle flavor and color. I prefer to use homemade fish stock when possible. When I make shrimp or lobster, I save the shells, cook them in water, strain the broth and store in the freezer. The same can be done with fish bones. You can substitute store-bought seafood or clam broth.
- 1/2 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 quart fish broth (see comments above)
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1/2 pound firm white-fleshed fish fillets, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, coarsely chopped if large
- 1/2 pound bay scallops
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley or chives (optional garnish)
Place the red peppers and garlic in a mini or regular processor. Process until puréed. Bring the broth and potatoes to a boil in a large saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the fish, shrimp and scallops. Cook until fish is done (the shrimp will turn pink), about 5 minutes. Add the puréed peppers and garlic, sherry and cream. Continue to cook just until hot; do not boil. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately. If desired, garnish with chopped fresh parsley or chives.
Notes: Fish stocks tend to be high in sodium and the soup might not need additional salt. For a thicker broth, mash a few of the potatoes with a potato masher or purée with an immersion blender before adding the fish.