Smoky Salmon and Fennel Chowder

 

I am a New Englander at heart, yet I moved away from Boston nearly 20 years ago to live in Europe. Each summer (and fall, winter, spring) I would crave and miss a good chowder, so I learned to make my own. Littleneck clams were hard to come by, so I experimented with different fish. Salmon was readily available and quickly became my favorite fish to use. Its thick flesh and buttery flavor was a perfect match to the creamy soup, and adding flaked warm-smoked salmon to the mix achieved the smoky oomph that all chowders should have. Fennel is another favorite addition, adding a fresh crunch and anise notes that complement the flavors of the soup.

What you will need

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 medium fennel bulb, fronds removed and reserved, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced

Salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups water

1/2 pound yukon gold potatoes cut into 1/2-inch pieces (peeling optional)

1 pound salmon filet, skin and pin bones removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

6 ounces warm smoked salmon, flaked

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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