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  • Salmon Chowder (minus the pudge factor)

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

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    I’m a New England girl…where comfort food often involves fish (healthy), preferably fried or in a heavy, creamy chowder (not so healthy). While I have yet to figure out how to make a healthy fried clam (and, let’s face it, life would be sad without an occasional indulgence in the things that remind us of home), I do think I have finally figured out how to make a healthy chowder!

    Salmon Chowder


    The first trick: Be sure to include just a touch of butter–the flavor it adds is unmistakable and impossible to duplicate with olive oil. This recipe includes one tablespoon (for 4 servings), just enough to lend the golden color that shimmers on top of a hot bowl of chowder while still keeping the overall saturated fat very low.

    The second trick: Low fat half and half combined with 1% milk. I have experimented a lot with this recipe, and one of the main ingredients I have played with the most is the dairy component. Any good chowder includes milk or cream as a main ingredient. I have tried using evaporated skim milk (too processed tasting), fat free half and half (not enough body to stand cooking at a simmer temperature), all 1% or 2% milk (an OK result, but just not rich enough to be called a proper chowder by New England standards). Finally, while wandering the dairy aisle I stumbled on Land O’ Lakes low fat half and half. The ingredient list is short and understandable (unlike that of fat free half and half) and 2 TBSP has just 1.5 grams of fat. With my new find in hand, I set about making my chowder, hoping it was delicious, and blog worthy.

    The third trick: Lots of fresh herbs, a little white wine and a touch of lemon to amplify the overall taste of the chowder.

    Why salmon instead of clam chowder? The simple reason is that I had salmon in the house. The result was a satisfying hearty dinner with just enough richness to be called ‘chowder’ and light enough to be healthy. I imagine this would make an equally yummy clam chowder with a few changes (substitute some of the broth with clam juice, consider using fish stock instead of chicken broth, switch up the herbs…you may see a clam version at some point). I did consider using fish stock in this recipe, but thought it might make the end result a bit too fishy. Let me know what you think!

    Oh, and the remaining low fat half and half? It’s well on its way to playing a starring role in reduced fat homemade Mexican chocolate ice cream (more on that later).

    © 2011 Nancy Granada Kindred Kitchen

    Salmon Chowder (minus the pudge factor)

    servings: 4 | time: about 50 minutes

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    For the Salmon:
    1 1/3 pounds fresh salmon
    2 sprigs thyme
    4 lemon slices
    1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp. pepper


    For the Chowder:
    2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
    1 TBSP unsalted butter
    1 shallot, minced
    1 small yellow pepper, diced
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    4 TBSP flour
    1 tsp. dry mustard
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    3 cups organic low sodium chicken broth
    1 cup low fat half and half
    2 cups 1% milk
    1 1/2 cups diced red potatoes, with skin (be sure to dice these on the small size since they will cook in the broth) preferably organic
    1/2 tsp white pepper
    1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
    1 1/3 pounds fresh salmon, cooked and flaked (see above)
    2 TBSP fresh tarragon, chopped
    zest of 1 lemon
    Handful of parsley, chopped


    Roast the Salmon:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees

    1. Rinse salmon in cold water and pat dry

    2. Place in a baking dish, skin side down

    3. Place thyme, lemon slices, salt and pepper on top of salmon

    4. Drizzle with EVOO and bake, uncovered for 10-14 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork in center. Remove from oven and set aside or refrigerate overnight if making chowder the next day

    5. Using a fork, flake the salmon to bite size pieces and set aside


    Make the Chowder:
    1. Heat the EVOO and butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat

    2. Add the shallot, pepper and garlic and saute for 3 minutes

    3. Add the flour and the dry mustard and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 1 minute

    4. Add the wine and cook for 30 seconds

    5. Add the chicken broth

    6. Add the potatoes, white pepper and salt. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes

    7. Add the low fat half and half and milk, bring back up to simmer and cook 10 additional minutes or until potatoes are just tender

    8. Add the salmon, lemon peel, and tarragon. Cook for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning adding salt and pepper if needed

    9. Add the parsley and serve with crusty bread and a big salad


    8 responses to “Salmon Chowder (minus the pudge factor)”

    1. Anonymous says:

      I’ve had this twice now and love it -PG

    2. Amy says:

      Love this recipe and I received a sample from the chef herself! The lemon is so fabulous in this recipe. Usually citrus will fade in a recipe, but because the lemons are baked with the fish the light citrusy flavor stays with the chowder and makes this recipe a standout!!

      Thanks for sharing!

    3. Anonymous says:

      This looks fantastic. I love chowder, but I am morbidly obese and in dire need of a low-fat alternative. This fits the bill nicely. My thighs thank you.

    4. About Me says:

      This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Nancy Granada says:

      @Anonymous–regarding the low fat aspect of the recipe…I have lost 90 pounds and have kept the weight off for over 17 years, so I know your struggle. That’s why you will find healthy, low fat recipes on my blog (well, mostly healthy and low fat…a girl has to indulge once in a while :)). One of the best things I did was to learn how to cook healthier and to embrace cooking more at home and going out to eat less. This allows total control over what we choose to eat (and it’s fun!). Best of luck to you…

    6. Jonathan says:

      Nancy, another win. This looks awesome. No guilt chowder = domination. Can’t wait to try it. And can’t wait for this weekend!

    7. Cindy Hill says:

      Hi Nancy,
      I make corn chowder quite a bit and depending on the company often make a vegan version — soy milk and pureed boiled potatoes as the base, works pretty well and is even lower in fat/calories — though your salmon is a great heart-healthy idea (better than the clam-n-bacon option most places serve up…). Thanks for the great blog!

    8. Nancy Granada says:

      @Cindy Hill—thanks for the corn chowder tip! My mom make killer corn chowder when I was a kid (nothing lowfat/healthy about hers…but sooo yummy!). Pureed potatoes are a great idea for thickening a chowder! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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