I know for many of you, summer still abounds, with fluffy flowers blowing in a gentle breeze, the blazing sun overhead in a field of blue. The pleasures of sweat drops easing down your neck on the way to your car. Yeah? Well, I’m not writing for you. You deserve no more sympathy than a porn star on a blind date, and no delicious Salmon Chowder. I still haven’t made up my mind about whether I even like you or not.
I’m writing for the eternally hopeful, already feeling the bite of chilly air, who mourn the brown, saddened flowers, and stare teary eyed at the leaves cluttering the sidewalk in a maudlin display of self sacrifice.
Yes, my friends, I write for those ill-favored souls who must face the shortened days of dying sunlight and know they can’t make it through the day on brandy alone, even delicious brandy, such as the Armagnac filled water glass I hold in my two quivering hands. So, first let me take a swallow…perhaps two swallows…make that two gulps…and lead you toward a chowder that will haunt the dreams of the middle-aged who already realize the best years dwell in the shadows of yesterday and dreams of chowder are a poor substitute for dreams of jolly, large breasted women. Don’t mean to leave out the ladies, who no doubt dream of jolly, large breasted men.
½ diced red bell pepper
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed into ½ inch pieces
½ cup of sliced mushrooms
½ pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
2 cups thin sliced leeks, white portions only
1cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
A palm’s worth of sprigs of fresh thyme
4 tablespoons of butter
3 cups whole milk
2 ½ cups of whipping cream
1 ½ pounds fresh salmon, skin discarded
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh chives or other green herbs for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 400ºF (200ºC)
Boil the cubed potatoes in a saucepan of salted water until barely tender. Drain and set aside.
Cook the bacon in a five quart, heavy pot until crisp. Remove and set aside.
Salt and pepper fresh salmon, put it on a foil-lined baking sheet and place it in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and roughly flake the fish.
In the same pot you used for the bacon, drain off the bacon fat, add butter and cook the leeks and diced red bell pepper until until wilted.
Add the milk, cream, salmon, bacon, corn and thyme. Bring just to a boil, then turn down the heat. Stir and cook 5-8 minutes.
Add salt and pepper as desired.
Serve with some rounds of a freshly baked baguette.
Don't forget to garnish with fresh chopped chives to the bowls of chowder.
If you still need more help with the transition from summer to misery, I suggest another water glass of Armagnac.