Sunday, June 5, 2016

Bahama Fish Chowder

     Caribbean Style Fish Chowder!
     I made Bahama Chowder in many Florida restaurants and customers liked this healthy soup so much that it sold out nearly every time.  In tropical heat and humidity, nobody likes to eat heavy cream soups.  A Caldeirada style broth soup is much more appealing on a hot day.
     Today's Bahama Fish Chowder is similar to Key West style Conch Chowder.  Bahama Fish Chowder has a light seafood and tomato broth that is the same as a Portuguese Caldeirada.  Any kind of tropical white fish can be used to make this chowder.  Grouper, Snapper, Redfish, Flounder and Pompano are good choices.  In restaurants, the fish scraps from cutting filet portions was to make this chowder.
     A few years ago when I made the recipe example for the photographs, the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Stream was contaminated by the worst oil spill in history.  Authorities say that the chemicals will linger in this body of water for at least another 50 years, so seeking another source of seafood is a good choice.
     Using Pacific Ocean fish or farm raised fish from sustainable fisheries is a good option.  Tilapia is in the snapper family of fish, so it is an alternative choice, but the baitfish used to feed Tilapiua causes sustainability issues.  Ling Cod was abundant a few years ago, so I used a filet to make the Bahama Fish Chowder in the photos.  Ling cod is not always in sustainable numbers, so it is best to check its sustainability rating before making a purchase.  
     One thing to keep in mind when cooking today's chowder, is to not stir the soup.  Stirring will break up the fish and the thin vegetable strips!    
     Bahama Fish Chowder:
     This recipe yields about 3 cups.   
     There are no tricky cooking techniques involved in this classic Caribbean recipe.  This is simple island style cooking!  
     Step 1:  Heat a large sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.  
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil.  
     Add 1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped salt pork.  
     Add 1 minced garlic clove. 
     Add 1/3 cup of julienne sliced onion.  
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.  
     Step 2:  Add 3 cups of fumet (whitefish broth).  
     Add 1/2 cup of large diced potato.  
     Add 1/3 cup of peeled and seeded fresh plum tomato that is cut into wide strips.  
     Step 3:  Add 1 bay leaf.  
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.  
     Add 1 pinch of basil.  
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.  
     Add 10 torn large Italian Parsley leaves.  
     Add 1 or 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.  (to taste) 
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.  
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1 pinch of allspice.  
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.  (The salt pork adds a salty flavor, so less sea salt is needed.)
     Step 4:  Raise the temperature to medium/medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat    
     Simmer the soup, till the potatoes start to become tender.  
     Step 6:  Add 1/4 cup of celery that is cut into thin 4" long strips.  
     Add 1/4 cup of carrot that is cut into thin 4" long strips.  
     Add 1/4 cup of green bell pepper that is cut into thin 4" long strips.  
     Add 1 white part of a green onion that is thin julienne sliced.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add a 5 ounce filet of white fish that is cut into large bite size pieces.
     *Do not stir the soup after adding the fish! 
     Step 7:  Gently simmer the chowder till the vegetables are cooked tender.
     *Add some fish broth or water if the level of liquid drops below the ingredients.  The proportion of solid ingredients should be high in this chowder.   
     Step 8:  Remove the bay leaf.  
     Ladle the Bahama Fish Chowder into a shallow soup bowl.
     Try to expose some of the fish and julienne vegetables on the surface of the chowder.
     Garnish with a parsley sprig.

     Bahama fish chowder is soothing after spending a day in the sun on the beach! 

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