This? This is amazing. Especially if you live near a high concentration of Asian groceries and can find a bunch of these ingredients for cheap, and salmon goes on sale for the right price. A nice Thai riff on the classic salmon chowder, and makes the apartment smell amazing. 

Thai Style Salmon Chowder

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced large
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, outer layers removed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves (you can get these for super cheap at Asian grocery stores, trust me)
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 1 13 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 lb salmon, skin removed and cut into .5 inch pieces (save the skin)
  • .25 c fish sauce
  • .25 c fresh lime juice

Heat a large pot over high heat. Add the olive oil, and once it starts to shimmer, add your sliced shiitake, and sautee until deeply bronzed (about 7 to 10 minutes). Then, stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant (a minute or so), followed by the tomato, bell pepper, lime leaves, and lemongrass, cooking until the tomatoes release juice and the bell pepper just barely starts to wilt. 

Add in the chicken stock and coconut milk and stir together, bringing to a simmer. Once steadily simmering, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. 

While the soup simmers, heat a small pan with olive oil over medium high heat, add your salmon skin, and cook on each side for about three minutes, until crispy. (Mine didn’t quite work out that way due to the sheer amount, but I tried and got pretty close!  See pics 8 and 9). 

Once your salmon skin is ready, add the salmon chunks, fish sauce, and lime juice in, and cook another minute or two, until the salmon that you can see is cooked. (The residual heat will take care of cooking it the rest of the way.)

Taste and adjust to your tastes, add a bit of salmon skin for garnish to your bowl as you scoop it out, and enjoy your ridiculously good soup. 

This smells all kinds of fantastic as it’s cooking, especially once you add in the smoked salmon.  I was able to get a big filet of smoked salmon at one of the last outdoor farmer’s markets of the year, and if you have anywhere that does it locally, I highly recommend going for that with this.  Towards the last few stages of cooking this, you will need to watch it closely, as if it boils (instead of simmers), the milk will separate from the stock base, and you don’t want that.  The original recipe also calls for chives and celery, but honestly, I’ve never found that either adds a lot to a soup, so I skipped them.

Smoked Salmon Chowder
Lasts 4-5 lunches

Ingredients

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 leeks, medium sized, the white and light green bits sliced thin (don’t use the dark green parts)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed (original recommended russet, I used a large red)
  • .5 t salt
  • .5 t black pepper
  • 2 c chicken stock (original recommends vegetable broth)
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 c milk (I used 2%)
  • 8 oz smoked salmon, flaked (I got a 10 oz filet and just flaked it off the skin with a fork)
  • .5 c heavy whipping cream

Heat your olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot, and then add your leeks and garlic, sauteeing for two minutes.  Then add your potato, salt, and pepper, and sautee for an additional minute.  Add your stock and bring to a simmer, and let simmer for fifteen minutes, until your potato is fork tender.

Then, add your tomato paste and milk, stirring to combine, followed quickly by your smoked salmon, flaking it directly into the soup.  Bring back to a simmer, but don’t let it boil, as then the milk will separate, and you don’t want that.  Simmer for a few minutes more, stirring in the heavy cream, and then remove from heat, and enjoy!