7 Tips for Getting Seafood Chowder Right
There is nothing better on a drizzling New England day than a bowl of seafood chowder with a chunk of flaky bread or oyster crackers. This hearty comfort food will warm you up and lift your mood.
Fans of seafood chowder have strong opinions about what defines a perfect chowder. You may have strong feelings about the correct ratio of seafood to broth or types of seafood that should be used. No matter what—whether you swear by Manhattan chowder or think New England chowder is the clear winner—there are 7 general rules to follow to make a good seafood chowder.
1. Start with a flavorful base.
The best chowders start with a rich base made by sautéing the vegetables in grease from frying pancetta, bacon, chorizo or kielbasa. You can leave the extra meat in for added flavor and texture or use it in another recipe. An alternative for those who like their chowder less rich is to sauté the vegetables in butter and wine.
2. Use a good fish stock or savory clam juice.
Fish stock usually has a stronger flavor than clam juice. If you would like to make your own fish stock, ask your local fishmonger if he has any spent fish racks that are for sale. You can use these to make a good stock in about 45 minutes. For a milder taste, use a savory claim juice.
3. Select thick white fish fillets such as haddock, husk, pollock, cod, hake or cusk.
Don’t use scraps of fish for your seafood chowder. Use whole fish fillets instead. They will cook more slowly and flake apart into bite-sized pieces.
4. Add in hearty ingredients.
A good chowder has hearty ingredients like fresh corn, potatoes or roasted red pepper. If you like a creamy chowder, add in whole milk or cream instead of half and half or a thinner milk. Heavy cream and whole milk are less likely to curdle ensuring that your chowder will have the best texture and flavor.
5. Use fresh herbs.
Once you use fresh herbs in a chowder, you’ll never resort to dry herbs again. Dry thyme and parsley don’t have as full a flavor. The trick to making chowder with fresh thyme is to tie the stems of four or five of them together and wrap the twine around the handle of the pot. The thyme leaves will fall off as the chowder cooks. When it’s done, you can pull the stems out with the string.
6. Let it rest.
Instead of serving your chowder right away, let it rest for at least 30 minutes so that all the ingredients can marinate together.
7. Don’t forget crackers or bread.
Seafood chowder isn’t complete without oyster crackers or flaky bread to soak up the rich broth.
Let us know how your chowder turns out when you use these tips! Check out our Pinterest for popular chowder recipes. Swing by our seafood counter to pick up ingredients for your chowder.