6 Alaskan Women. One quintessential Alaskan cookbook
Monday, September 6, 2010
Fall is Soup Season: Halibut Bisque and Chowder
Fall is here! Cottonwood leaves litter the ground, there's a crispness and chill in the air, and students and teachers are heading back to school. Fall ushers in the start of soup season. This week, I cooked up two Fiddlehead halibut soups, the bisque and the chowder.
The Halibut Bisque (page 11) is a keeper of a recipe. It has a rosy color and delicious flavor. We had a loaf of "Peace Bomb" (I kid you not) whole wheat bread from Freddy's organic section to serve with it.
You'll only have one dish to wash after you cook this recipe--do it all in one pot. First, poach the halibut (or substitute other white fish) in the Fish Stock. Save the halibut and fish stock separately.
Use the same pot to saute the veggies in butter and add the fish stock and milk in.
Add the tomatoes and halibut at the end and bring up to temperature before you serve. I love the subtle tang from the white wine, giving the soup an extra layer of complexity to its flavor.
Remember Pep's Packing in Gustavus? Our local Jerry's Meats and Seafood had Pep's smoked halibut in stock when I picked up the fish. The smokiness is key in the Smoked Halibut Chowder (Page 13).
Chop the veggies small, and saute them in fat before adding the broth. Though it called for fish stock again, I had no fish heads laying around to boil. This time I used vegetable broth instead, steaming celery, carrots, lemon, and spices in water. It worked, but it might be more flavorful with fish stock.
Bucking tradition, there's no clam in this chowder. And no cream, either: only 2% milk. I've never had smoked halibut before. It's smoky, but mild. In fact, this is a good chowder for someone who isn't the biggest fish fan. Made with the vegetable stock, it didn't have a very fishy flavor at all.