Recipe from Mr. Sunday’s Soups by Lorraine Wallace and Chris Wallace (Wiley, 2010)
Wild salmon is abundant in the spring, as the rivers start to thaw and the fish start to swim upstream to their spawning grounds. This pretty dish has all the ingredients of a heartier chowder, but the celery root, lemon, and dill give it a fresh spring taste. If you want to dress this chowder up for a spring dinner, bake six disks of puff pastry and place one on top of each bowl just prior to serving. Toss a spring salad and presto: you've created a simply elegant spring supper!
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over low heat until crisp; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet.
- 4 ounces thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds celery root (about 2 medium celery roots), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 3 cups seafood broth or three 8-ounce bottles clam juice
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 pound tiny new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
- 2 pounds skinless salmon fillet (preferably wild-caught), cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely grated zest from a scrubbed and dried lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Ground white pepper
Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the celery root, cover the skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. Set the skillet aside.
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the broth and water. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon and transfer to a platter.
Add the salmon to the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for about 4 minutes, just until firm; transfer the salmon to the platter with the potatoes.
Add the cream to the saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until reduced by about one-quarter, 15 to 20 minutes (don't let it boil over!).
In a small bowl, use a fork to blend the butter and flour into a smooth paste. Whisk the flour paste into the simmering soup a little at a time, and keep simmering until the soup is smooth and slightly thickened. Keep cooking and stirring for about 3 minutes more, to cook off the taste of the flour.
Add the reserved celery root mixture, potatoes, and salmon. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 2 minutes more, just to warm through. Stir in the dill, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
Ladle into warm bowls and scatter with a little of the cooked bacon.