New England clam chowder is the most famous chowder recipe of all. I posted a nice New England Clam Chowder recipe in this blog a few months ago. There are many other varieties of chowder that are very popular too.
Chowder cooking is fishing village cuisine. Chowder is not always made with clams. Fish chowders are very hearty and are great for a cold winter day. This Florence Fennel and Catfish Chowder recipe is very soothing and nice tasting!
Catfish is a delicate flaky white fish that is perfect for stewing. I have cooked a few sail cat tomato stews in the past. Sail cat has the lightest flavor of all ocean catfish. Farm raised fresh water catfish are of high quality. Catfish adds a nice light flavor when it stewed in a white chowder.
Florence fennel, finocchio, fennel bulb and anise bulb are all the same vegetable. The very mild flavor of fennel bulb does add a very light anise like flavor to this chowder. The flavor of the salt pork can be easily noticed in this chowder. Therefore, this recipe only calls for a little bit of salt pork.
Florence Fennel and Catfish Chowder Recipe:
This recipe makes 1 large bowl of chowder!
Heat a sauce pot over medium low heat.
Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped salt pork.
Saute till some of the grease is rendered out of the salt pork.
Add 2 tablespoons of small chopped onion.
Add 2 tablespoons of small chopped celery.
Add 1/3 cup of chopped fennel bulb.
Raise the temperature to medium/medium low heat.
Saute the vegetables, till they just start to become tender.
Add just enough flour, while stirring, to soak up the excess grease in the pan and to form a pan roux.
Cook and stir the roux for one minute.
Add 1 1/2 cups of fume. (white fish stock)
Add 1/2 cup of milk.
Add 1/2 cup of cream.
Stir the chowder often, till it starts to simmer and thicken.
Add 1/2 cup of medium diced potato.
Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
Simmer till the potatoes start to become tender.
Cut a 5 ounce catfish filet into small bite size pieces.
Add the catfish to the soup. (Dot not stir the chowder after adding the fish or the fish will break up into tiny pieces!)
Add sea salt and black pepper. (The salt pork is already quite salty, so taste the soup before adding sea salt!)
Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg.
Simmer the chowder for 5 minutes, so the flavors meld.
Ladle the Florence Fennel and Catfish Chowder into a soup bowl.
Garnish with a green fennel top sprig.
Rich, warm and comfortable! That is what chowder is all about. This catfish white chowder has an interesting delicate anise flavor.
I made this chowder with farm raised catfish. Farmed fish have become more popular since the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico fishery. If you are like me, then you probably do not trust public officials who say that gulf seafood is now safe to eat. With all those chemicals on the ocean bottom, I am sure that it will be many years before I will trust seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. Till then, farmed fish and Pacific seafood may be a wiser choice.
If you happen to catch a few catfish from your favorite fishing pond, be sure to try this recipe. This is a delicious chowder! ... Shawna