Freshwater Whitefish Chowder with Bacon, Potatoes and Basil

Recipe by Chef Eric Villegas , Fork in the Road, (Huron River Press, 2007)

Photography By Carole Topalian | October 25, 2017

Ingredients

  • ¼ pound thick cut maple-cured hickory-smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 whole bay leaves
  • 8 whole fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic purée (see note)
  • 1 quart fish stock
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • 4 fresh whitefish fillets, skinned, boned and trimmed (about one pound)
  • Juice of one whole lemon

Instructions

1.   Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat for 10 minutes or until bacon is crisp and has rendered its fat. Remove bacon and reserve.

2.   Melt butter into rendered bacon fat and increase heat to medium-high; add onions and bay leaves. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Add basil, potatoes and roasted garlic purée. Cover with fish stock; season with salt and pepper.

3.   Simmer chowder for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Add crème fraiche and stir to blend. Submerge fish fillets into chowder and gently simmer an additional 5 minutes or until fish is cooked through. To serve, place chowder in 4 large bowls and top each with a fish fillet. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve with chowder crackers.

Yield: 4 servings

How To Make Roasted Garlic Purée: Preheat oven to 375oF. Cut heads of one pound of garlic in half. Place cut side up in small baking dish. Pour ½ cup olive oil over garlic. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; top with fresh rosemary sprig. Cover tightly, place in oven and roast for 45 minutes. Uncover and return to oven for 15 minutes or until cloves begin to pop out of skins and lightly brown. Squeeze cooled roasted garlic into small bowl. Add oil from baking dish and smash with back of spoonuntil paste forms. Store covered garlic in refrigerator for up to one week.

 

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Ingredients

  • ¼ pound thick cut maple-cured hickory-smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 whole bay leaves
  • 8 whole fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic purée (see note)
  • 1 quart fish stock
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • 4 fresh whitefish fillets, skinned, boned and trimmed (about one pound)
  • Juice of one whole lemon
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