Lately I’ve been buying a lot of bluefish. I can get it at Whole Foods for only $5.99/lb, it’s an oily fish like salmon so it has a ton of good fats, AND it’s delicious. (If you haven’t tried it, you definitely should; it’s the only fresh fish I’ve found that comes close to the affordability of ground beef.)
When I was at Whole Foods last week, I realized I had never bought a whole fish before. I know that fish broth is supposed to be an awesome source of selenium and iodine and all those other great things you can find in fish heads, so I decided to give it a shot. I brought home my bluefish (which the Whole Foods fish people kindly filleted for me), fried and ate the fillets for breakfast two days in a row, and then stuck the fish head in a pot of water and boiled it for a few hours to make some fish broth.
Then, I realized I had absolutely no idea what to do with it.
So, I got creative! (Me getting creative in the kitchen usually turns out very badly, but I think this time it was a success.) I found some canned salmon in the cabinet, some leftover cream (from my failed Brazilian Cheese Balls) in the fridge, a few neglected carrots, and some potatoes from the farmers’ market. Result: Salmon Chowder! I was pretty happy with how mine turned out, and this is also an extremely affordable meal. Perfect for a college student with a kitchen and a spare fish head!
- fish stock (or other stock of your choice)
- 4 small potatoes (or 2 large), diced
- about 5 carrots, sliced
- 2 cans salmon, drained
- dill, salt and pepper to taste
- about 2 cups of cream
- about 1 cup of shredded cheese
- If you’re making fish broth, just put your fish head and skeleton in enough water to cover it and boil it for a few hours (I think I boiled mine for about 7 hours.) Feel free to add some salt to the broth if you want. When it’s done, strain the stock and return to the pot. If you’re not making fish broth, put whatever liquid you’re using into a pot and get it simmering.
- Slide your diced potatoes and carrots into the broth, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes (until beginning to soften).
- Add the salmon and season to taste. Leave pot uncovered and simmer until the veggies are soft enough for your taste, and the liquid has reduced so that it resembles a stew more than a soup.
- Add the shredded cheese and cream. If it’s not thick enough, you can either let it simmer and reduce longer, or add some arrowroot starch. (To do this, just mix a spoonful of starch with some cold water, then stir into the chowder.)
Let me know if you try it! I’d also love to hear about your favorite uses for fish broth.