There are so many seafood dishes in mom's cards and I'm pushing myself to be more adventuresome with ingredients. Mom really enjoyed living near the ocean and having fresh fish and shellfish available all the time. Since I've lived all my life in the Midwest, I've been more of a poultry-and-produce sort of cook. What happens lately when I head to the kitchen is a blending of my cooking instincts with mom whispering in my ear to try something new.
Inspired by mom's scampi recipe, I created a fish chowder over the weekend that earned me a favorite comment from my husband. When he says I've made something that's better than what he could order in a restaurant, I think he's crazy but it makes me smile anyway. Especially since I was trying to use up a handful of things that couldn't feed all three of us in one sitting. It's the kind of kitchen magic I saw mom do many times but didn't know I could make it happen too.
Fish chowder, approx. 4-5 servings
4 Tblsp. butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 new potatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tblsp. flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups dry white wine
1 tsp. dried tarragon
2 tilapia fillets
2 Tblsp. heavy cream
1. Melt butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Saute onion, carrots, celery and potatoes over high heat until the potatoes are fork-tender.
2. Reduce heat to medium-high, add garlic and saute a few more minutes. Sprinkle flour over veggies, stirring to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the stock, white wine and tarragon. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes.