A Recipe to Celebrate the Return of the Rain: Tacoma Smoked-Salmon and Summer Corn Chowder

Not my most photogenic soup, but so delicious!

Not my most photogenic soup, but so delicious!

Here’s what you do:

Notice that it’s raining and a wee bit chilly. Hmm—some soup would taste good tonight. You’ve been down near the Puget Sound all day, so your thoughts turn to salmon.

Go to Northern Fish Old Town, 2201 Ruston Way, in Tacoma, and buy some of their superb house-smoked salmon. If you don’t live near this fine purveyor of fresh seafood, I’m sorry. In any case, get some good smoked salmon; you want the firm, hot-smoked variety for this soup, not the soft cold-smoked type you’d eat on bagels with a schmear.  A half a pound is more than plenty if you’re serving this chowder as a main dish to two or three, or a first course to four.

In your favorite large-ish soup pot, put two slices of bacon that you’ve cut up into smallish bits. When that’s rendered its fat (you want about 1 Tbs.), throw in about a cup of diced Walla Walla sweet onion and about a cup of diced celery. Include some celery leaves if you can. Stir that around in the bacon grease over medium heat, plop on the lid, and let the veggies soften. After five minutes or so, sprinkle the veggies with a tablespoon of flour, which will help thicken the soup later.

Now add the kernels of one ear of sweet corn—from Washington State, of course—and one large or two small red-skinned potatoes, diced. Pour in a liter of low-salt chicken broth. It’s important that the broth be low-salt because the salmon is salty. Throw in a bay leaf if you like, and add plenty of freshly-ground black pepper. Stir well, cover and let this simmer gently until the potatoes are as tender as you like them. Add some fresh dill if you have it, dried dill if you don’t.

When your potatoes are done, stir in a glug of heavy cream. I use about a half cup, but you might like more, or less. You can try some low-fat substitute for the cream, but don’t tell me about it. Now flake up the salmon and dump it into the soup. Stir gently. OK—go ahead and eat a few chucks of the salmon; you’ve earned it.

Let the soup simmer just a few minutes longer, and serve with crusty sourdough bread. Look out the window at the rain. Smile.

 

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