Winter is drawing near it’s end and there are bits of spring starting to show here in Seattle. According to my husband, his mother is known for saying that crocus are the first sign of spring. But here in the Pacific Northwest we seem to skip right over the crocus and daffodils pop up in every crevice imaginable. They are in flower boxes, street corners, pea patches, flower beds, the base of trees, and so on.
The daffodils are like yellow blankets that have been tossed about and lay gently across the city. The temperature may still hold a chill, there are more than a few rain clouds than we care for; but these cheery fleck of vibrant color are a reminder that sunshine and warmth are near. By a stroke of luck the other day, the clouds parted and I went for a walk though downtown. When an opportunity like this strikes you need to jump on it. Patch upon patch of cheery yellow greeted me along the way. These flowers look and feel like joy and I look forward to it each year living here.
Even with these pretty flowers showing up the days of sunshine are still few in between grey clouds, and chilly wind. As much as I want to be eating asparagus, English peas, rhubarb, and morels (all foods I look forward to in early spring); these items are just not ready yet. Dam those daffodils….they have me feeling spring is here. A dinner of something hearty and warm is still needed. I ran through the market after work going from one vender to another. I stopped to get a bit of produce, some bacon, fish stock, and a bunch of fish. Seafood Chowder was on my mind. Spring is not here yet, but chowder weather is what it feel like. Many may feel that making a chowder is complicated. But to be honest I spent more time chopping and prepping all the ingredients than actually cooking it all. Dinner was served as the rain came back and was tapping on our windows. Spring I hope your sun shinny days are hear soon. In the meantime this delicious chowder will keep you warm, and I will keep gazing at the daffodils and dreaming you are hear soon!
Seafood Chowder (feeds 6-8)
4 bacon slices, chopped
1 large onion, chopped into bite size pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bunch of kale, trimmed and chopped small
1 quart of fish stock
1 lb cod filet, chopped into bite size pieces
1 lb bay scallops, rinsed and trimmed if needed
1 10oz can clams, drained
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp ground red pepper
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil, as needed
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped (plus more for garnish)
crusty beard for serving (sourdough works well with this)
First, place a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. When pot is heated through add you bacon and render, stirring every so often to keep it from sticking. After bacon renders for about 5 minutes add you onion and stir well. If your onion seem to stick you can add a bit of olive oil, 1 tbsp at a time, to be sure it is all coated and not sticking.
Next,After the onion simmers about 5 minutes add you sweet potato and kale. Stir well and sprinkle with your red pepper, a bit of sea salt and black pepper. let it all simmer together about 5 minutes. Stirring often.
Then, add your fish stock and stir well. Let it all simmer together. I placed my lid to the pot on, left slightly ajar. Once all had simmered and your sweet potatoes are tender you can add in your cod, scallops, and clams. stir well and watch until pot comes to a simmer again. Once your pot is simmering add in your cream and stir well. Once your cod and scallops look opaque you can turn your heat off.
Finally, stir in you dill and taste to adjust seasoning. We found more black pepper was needed than sea salt, but that is why you need to taste and adjust to your liking. Serve while hot with your bread and extra dill for others to add. Enjoy.