Sunday, May 26, 2013

Salmonaragus Chowder

We've been kind of giddy this spring ever since we realized that adding the suffix '-aragus' words makes them sound much more fun and interesting.  It's turning into kind of a hobby to make a meal with asparagus, then name it a silly but clever (by our estimation, anyway), asparagus-suffixed portmanteau.  Last week we got a batch of asparagus and were foraging through our cupboards and freezer to see what we had go with it.  We were lucky enough to discover some potatoes and a couple pieces of salmon from Grandma. (Gralmon?  Katie says, "ok, Jake, settle down.  Also, thanks Gramma!")  If we could add a nice white sauce, we'd be in the chowder business!

We started by melting about 6 tablespoons of butter in a big pot.
Then we added the chopped onions and asparagus, and moved the spoon to the other side.
While the onions and asparagus (and wooden spoon) were sauteing, we turned some potatoes into cubes and cooked them in the microwave.  It also works to bake or boil them, but the microwave is so much faster.
While all that was going on, we didn't want our oven to feel left out.  So we put a couple fillets of salmon on a cookie sheet and sprinkled them with pepper, garlic powder, thyme, rosemary and basil, and baked them at 350 °F for about 15 minutes.
Once the onions were translucent and the asparagus started to soften, we added about 2 cups of that ham broth we'd been saving since Easter and brought the mix up to a simmer for about 20 minutes until the tough parts of the asparagus weren't stringy anymore.
Then we mixed a quarter cup of flour into about 2.5 cups of milk and added it to the pot, bringing it back up to a simmer until thickened (another 15 minutes or so).  We also added the potatoes to the pot at this point.
Meanwhile, the fish finished cooking, so we broke it up into pieces and took out any bones.  This also went into the pot right after the milk and flour.
The finished product.  A creamy, delicious bowl of fishy asparagus-ey goodness.
What goes well with chowder?  Crusty garlic toast is a good start.  We also did some kale and wine.  Mmmmm.  Caution: eating seafood chowder with crusty toast may cause those who are predisposed to talk like a pirate to do so for the rest of the night.
The recipe:
0.5 lb asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces
7 or 8 medium potatoes, cubed
3 small onions, chopped
1 lb salmon (or other fish)
2 c broth
2.5 c milk
0.25 c flour
6 T butter
0.5 t each pepper, garlic powder, thyme, basil, rosemary

Saute onions and asparagus in butter until onions are translucent.  Add broth and bring bring to simmer.  Mix flour and milk, then add to broth mixture.  Return slowly to simmer and cook until thickened.  Meanwhile, cook potatoes in microwave until almost done.  Season salmon with pepper, garlic powder, thyme, basil, and rosemary to taste, and bake at 350 °F until done.  Shred fish (removing any bones) and add to broth/milk mixture while it's coming up to a simmer.  Serve with crusty garlic toast and maybe talk like a pirate for a while.

What's your favorite chowder recipe?  What else have you paired asparagus with (and what did you call it)?  Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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