It’s true. No spud should have to spend its days alone.
Whether absorbed in the intimate company of its buttery best mate or plated up with a larger group of friends, the potato does what it does best when it’s part of a team.
Take the other week, when not one, but two good spud buddies showed up on the doorstep.
First there was a veritable trawler-load of Irish organic salmon from The Organic Salmon Company, a well regarded supplier of high quality salmon to well-known cheffy types and who have now taken to selling retail packs of their very lovely Atlantic salmon fillets here (available in Superquinn, I believe).
Then there was a host of creamy, dairy goodies from Yeats Country Foods. Let me just say that I am not surprised that these folks scored great taste golds for their organic soft cheese and crème fraîche. If Philadelphia is your yardstick for cream cheese, then theirs is even richer and creamier (in both colour and taste) than that. Gorgeous. Do get some to try the next time you’re in Dunnes Stores.
So, then, having welcomed these two visitors to my fridge, what next?
Being ever the sociable Spud, I reckoned that there was nothing else for it but to invite some other friends around and let everyone get together in a chowdery kind of way.
Potato, Salmon And Cream Cheese Chowder
I use the term chowder here in the sense of a milky, fishy soup.
Now, according to Wikipedia, that fount of all knowledge, dubious and otherwise, chowders are typically enriched with salt pork fatback and thickened with flour or saltine crackers, neither of which is true in this case. This chowder is none the worse for that, however, and is, I reckon, extremely likely to make a repeat appearance in my house whenever salmon and cream cheese show up together again.
- 3 smallish leeks (white and light green parts – should yield about 200g)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 400g potatoes (2 medium sized spuds)
- 2 tblsp butter
- 150g cream cheese
- 1 tsp fine salt or to taste
- 250ml milk
- approx. 150ml water
- 280g salmon fillets
- 2 tblsp chopped dill
- 2 tblsp lemon juice
- freshly ground black pepper
- chopped flat leaf parsley
- lemon zest
- Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks thinly and finely chop the garlic. Scrub the potatoes and, leaving the skin on, chop into approx. 1cm cubes.
- Place a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt.
- Add the garlic and leeks to the pan, sauté over medium low heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the potato cubes, cream cheese and salt and toss with the leeks. When the cream cheese has melted, add the milk and water, enough to just cover the veggies.
- Increase the heat to medium, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Meanwhile, chop the salmon fillets into approx. 1cm cubes, leaving the skin on if it hasn’t already been removed.
- When the potatoes have cooked, add the chopped dill, lemon juice, salmon pieces and a few twists of black pepper to the pot. Stir to mix and simmer very gently for 5-7 minutes or until the salmon pieces are just cooked through. The chowder will be fairly thick, so thin with additional hot water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
- Remove from the heat and serve, scattered with some chopped flat leaf parsley and a little sprinkling of lemon zest.
- To make something a little less rich, you can, or course, replace some or all of the milk with water and/or reduce the quantity of cream cheese.
- You could also add other fishy things in here – I’m thinking something shrimp-like would work well.
- Chowder for 3-4.