The garden is so bursting with gorgeous vegetables that it is hard to decide what to cook with first. The potatoes that were planted in January are now all ready, and as there is little that is better than a freshly dug new organic potato, I think that they will have to be included in lunch. Yesterday we had them simply boiled with two dipping sauces. One a garlic mayonaise made with almonds in the place of the egg and the other spicy, a Mojo Picon from the Canary Islands made with picante smoked paprika, vinegar, garlic and olive oil.
But back to today. I love fish and being by the sea there is always a good selection of fresh fish. It is impossible to decide before arriving at the market exactly what will be the best fish on the day. Today I have chosen Marrajo. It is a meaty white fish, most likely from the same family as Swordfish and Shark. The skin is certainly siimilar to both of the above. There are several varieties of the above caught in the Mediterranean Sea, each of which have local names which can vary in places not really very far from one another. A fish can have one name here in the local fishing port of Garrucha, and another in Almeria City which is less than 100 km away.
So potatoes, fish, there is some home cured streaky bacon in the larder, fresh onions and some green asparagus. A creamy Fish Chowder will make a light lunch and is easy to cook for one.
Chowders hail from the Atlantic coast of the United States and are famously made in Maine with clams. There I am sure as many variations as there are cooks, but the elements that have to be included for it to class as a chowder are as follows. Bacon, potatoes, onions, milk or cream, fish or shellfish of some sort. You then add other vegetables depending on what you have and what is in season. Sweet corn being very american, fits extremely well. Peas, asparagus as I have included today, pumpkin or squash cut in small cubes, celeriac cut the same.
A quarter of an Onion – cut into dice
75 gms Streaky bacon cut into lardons
100-150 gms meaty white fish – I used a type of shark called Marrajo
100 gms potatoes – peeled and cut into dice about 1.5 cm square
150 ml approx chicken stock
6 stems of asparagus
2-3 tablespoons thick fresh cream
salt and pepper
Fresh flat leaved parsley
Blanch the potatoes. Put the cubes in a saucepan with salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer 1 minute and immediately drain.
Warm the olive oil in a shallow saucepan, add the onions and let cook slowly for a couple of minutes until translucent.
Add the bacon and fry for 7-10 minutes stirring from time to time.
Add the stock and the potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook slowly for another 7-10 minutes until the potatoes are almost done.
Add the fish cut into cubes and the asparagus cut into bite sized pieces.
Cook slowly a few more minutes until the fish is just cooked.
Add salt and pepper and then the cream. As soon as the cream is amalgamated and warm, sprinkle over the freshly chopped parsley and serve.