We all know that seafood is a great source of omega-3 fats. We also all know that we should eat more of it. And, I’m sure I’ve said before that I believe soup to be the answer to most of life’s problems. So, it only makes sense that a soup would be the perfect way to enjoy all the health benefits of seafood. Plus, there’s just something comforting about a big bowl of soup.
I never need an excuse to eat seafood. In fact I come from a long line of seafood lovers…and fishermen for that matter. Growing up a normal afternoon at my grandparents house would include fishing for the fun of it in the back pond, or heading down to the pier to catch dinner. I loved fishing as a little girl and never minded putting the bait on the hook, but was always thankful for someone else to clean the fish afterward.
Here are a few pics of the “fishermen” in my family!
|My Maternal Grandparents (Judge & Sybil Emory)
|The Fishermen- My Maternal Grandfather (right) Judge Emory, His Dad (left) also Judge Emory & Claude (my Grandfather’s Bro In Law) And His Girls Connie And Billy
| Maternal great grandfather -Judge Emory- A Flood Doesn’t Stop A Real Fisherman
So, with a free Saturday morning I made my way to the local fish market in Umm Suqeim. I had driven past a couple of time, but never in the morning when the fish was fresh, so I was looking forward to this cultural experience.
I was shocked to see that it’s a full service fish market…. fishermen supplies, boat rentals, fresh fish straight out of the ocean, and skilled, who not only tell you about the fish and sell them to you, but men more skilled with a knife than I could ever be were on hand to clean the fish to your specifications.
The fishermen and vendors had stalls full of fish caught last night… hamour, shark, shrimp, crab, eel and a variety of other small local fish. I would have loved to spend more time talking to the vendors and asking questions about the fish, but had other groceries in the car, so this first excursion was a brief one.
I chose the hamour I wanted and the salesman took me to the fish cleaning area and gave them my instructions. For 2.45 AED (.68 cents) I got my fish cleaned and filleted and they gave me the head and bones in a separate bag to come home and make my stock.
Once home I couldn’t wait to get started on the seafood chowder so that I could share it with all of you….and obviously I wanted to eat it myself.
The process began by making fish stock with the bones and head, prepping all the vegetables and cooking the onions and cauliflower for the base of the chowder.
Creamy Seafood Chowder
Time: 1 hour
– fish head and bones
– tops and ends of celery, onion, garlic & carrots
– 1 bay leaf
– 1/2 T thyme
– 1/2 T sea salt
– 2 T fat of choice (I used lamb fat, but coconut oil would be good too)
– 1 white onion – chopped
– 1 large head of cauliflower – chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic – diced
– 1 cup canned coconut milk
– 2 cups water
– 1/2 t sea salt
– 1 T Herbs de Provence
– 3 medium carrots – 1 1/2 cups diced
– 1 medium parsnip – 1 1/2 cups diced
– 1 cup celery – diced
– 1 medium turnip – 1 cup diced
– 1 cup fish stock
– 250 grams (1/2 pound) – mussels
– 200 grams (7 oz.) salmon – cut into chunks
– 200 grams (7 oz.) white fish (hamour was my fish of choice) – cut into chunks
– 4 medium bay scallops – cut into quarters
– 20-25 medium shrimp
– 2 T spring onion greens
– 2 T chopped celery greens
– 1 bay leaf
– salt to taste (and black pepper if not strict AIP)
– place all ingredients in a sauce pan and over with water
– bring to a boil
– simmer over a low temperature for at least 30 minutes
– strain out bones
– heat fat in a large stock pot over medium heat
– saute onion in fat until translucent
– add chopped cauliflower, garlic, herbs de provence and 2 cup water (enough to cover cauliflower)
– bring to a boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes until cauliflower is soft
– while cauliflower is cooking, prep all the vegetables and seafood and put to the side
– once cauliflower is soft, add the coconut milk and blend the whole mixture with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy
– add 1 cup of fish stock, bay leaf, turnips and parsnips
– bring to a boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes
– add mussels, carrots & celery and simmer for 5-6 minutes
– add salmon and white fish and simmer for 2-3 minutes
– add scallops and shrimp
– simmer all together an additional 3-5 minutes. You want the vegetables to be tender, but don’t want to overcook the seafood.
– stir in chopped spring onion greens and celery leaves
– salt to taste (and pepper if not strict AIP)