When the days are cool, damp and dark, I crave hearty soups, stews and chowders. And a pot of one or the other seems to sit at a perpetual simmer on my stove.
Lately, I’ve craved seafood and salmon chowders and it seems all the little roadside restaurants that line the coastal highways of the Pacific Northwest have their own version of chowder – some spiked with smoked salmon, others dotted with carrots, some thickened with flour and others thin and delicate.
In making chowders at home, I favor delicate: mild in flavor and unfussy so that the ingredients you do use can shine. This version is easy to make, and comes together in less than a half hour – just potatoes, leeks, and salmon simmered in stock and then topped with cream, fresh dill and a spoonful of salmon roe.
Salmon roe is also particularly nutrient-dense, and a source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as B vitamins.
Where to Find Wild-Caught Salmon (and Roe)
I buy hook-and-line caught wild Alaskan salmon directly from a fishermen’s cooperative (check them out here). I visited with some of their fishermen last summer, and loved their commitment to sustainability and quality.
Their loyalty program keeps the salmon super affordable for my family; but you can also place a bulk order (great if you have ample freezer space or friends to share the order) and get wild-caught salmon shipped to your door straight from the fishermen for less than $12/pound.
I order salmon roe separately here.
Salmon Chowder with Salmon Roe, Dill and Potatoes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium leek white and light-green parts only, sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
- 4 cups fish stock
- 1 pound small potatoes peeled
- 1 pound skinless wild-caught salmon filets
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 3 ounces salmon roe
- Warm the butter in the bottom of a Dutch oven set over medium-low heat. When the butter releases its foam, toss in the sliced leek, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and then cover the pot. Let the leek sweat in the butter until tender, about eight minutes.
- Uncover the pot, pour in the fish stock and drop in the potatoes. Turn up the heat to medium high and simmer the potatoes in the stock until tender, about twenty minutes. Drop the salmon into the stock, cover the pot, and allow it to continue simmering until the fish is opaque, three to five minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the cream and dill. Salt the chowder as it suits you, and then ladle into soup bowls and top each bowl with a dollop of salmon roe.