My Best Fish Chowder

I don’t know about you, but usually when I have fish chowder, the fish is overcooked and tough. Usually this can be fixed by adding the fish at the very end of the cooking process, but then the fish doesn’t have as much time to get the flavors of the rest of the soup. I think I found the perfect way to keep the fish moist and flavorful at the same time.

This method takes a little bit longer – and an extra pan to keep cooking while the soup is simmering – but it’s worth it. The trick is the timing — get the potatoes and carrots cooked in the soup pot, and the ham and fish cooked in the skillet — at the same time, then serve the fish on top of the soup. This soup even tastes great the next day – just keep the fish separated.


fish chowder

I was lucky enough to have been given some amazing yellowtail fish from Catalina Offshore Products this last week, so I made this with a few boneless and skinless fillets of yellowtail. It would be perfect with any type of flaky white fish.

My Best Fish Chowder

  • 3-4 fillets of yellowtail or other flaky white fish
  • 3-4 big leaves of collard greens, scrubbed and trimmed
  • 1 lb. red or white potatoes, diced
  • 3-4 carrots, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 can of tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 can of sweet yellow corn
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 quart, plus one cup, of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 lb diced mushrooms
  • 1/4 lb chopped cooked ham or bacon
  • 2 tbsp. diced garlic, separated
  • 2 tbsp. chipotle powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Sautee the shallot, 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic, and carrots in a large pot, and begin to cook on high heat. Then, add the potatoes, the stock, and the cans of corn and tomatoes and chiles, as well as the chipotle powder and salt and pepper, to the pot. Turn down to a simmer and cover.

Spread out one of the collard green leaves and place a piece of fish in the center. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the fish. Wrap it like a burrito (fold up from the bottom, then fold each side, then roll upward) and set aside. Repeat for all of the fish pieces.

Sautee the rest of the garlic with the ham or bacon in a large, cast-iron or other heavy skillet, until the meat is browned. Keep on high heat. Gently place the pieces of collard-wrapped fish into the skillet. Let them sizzle and cook for about a minute, then gently flip each one. Slowly add the remaining cup of stock, and cover the entire skillet. Try to keep the steam inside for about 5 minutes, then remove the lid and let the remaining liquid evaporate out.

Sample the soup; make sure the potatoes are cooked and that no additional salt or pepper is needed. Add the mushrooms and the milk. Let simmer for 5 more minutes, then turn off the heat.

Ladle the soup into each bowl, then adding a piece of collard-wrapped fish and a few pieces of ham or bacon to the bowl as a garnish. Serve immediately.

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fish chowder recipe card

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