All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ode to the Atlantic pollock & perfect fish chowder

I spied some very fresh pollock at Shaw's supermarket yesterday, so I snapped it up for my favorite fish chowder. The woman behind the counter was shaking her head, "I don't know why people don't buy this more - instead it's always haddock, haddock, haddock."
Pollock is my favorite fish - it's meaty and holds up well in chowders and poaching, which is my preferred method of cooking fish. As a child, we ate a lot of pollock - it was then considered a "trash" fish, so the fishermen and their families took it home to eat. Cod ( which the pollock is related to) and haddock were the fish that sold. Unfortunately, I just discovered Fishwatch ( is announcing later this year that it is on the not sustainable list, so I'm not sure what I'll do. For now, I'll enjoy my fresh chowder, and hope for the future of this beautiful fish.
You will need:
1 pound very fresh pollock
1 onion, sliced
2 stalks celery, washed and choppled
2 leek whites, sliced
5 small red-skinned potatoes, chuncked or large dice
2 bay leaves
water or clam juice for stock
1/2 t, tarragon or fennel seed
(You could probably slice up some fennel bulb, but I've never tried it)
3 T. unsalted butter
salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
2 T. fresh dill, chopped
In a skillet, place onions, leeks, potatoes, bay leaves, celery, and the tarragon or fennel seed. Cover with water or clam juice - not too much, just enough to cover the vegetables.
Simmer until vegetables are tender, then take the fish and gently place in the simmering broth and vegetables.
Simmer until the fish "flakes" - when prodded with a fork, it will break into fat, juicy chunks. You shouldn't need more than ten minutes, usually, for the fish to cook.
Gently break up the fish, and swirl in the butter and dill. Taste for seasoning.
Serves at least 4.


Barb said...

You know, I just love how the most delicious picture pops up on the screen when I log onto your blog - it's sort of like the anticipation of opening a new present.

This chowder looks delicious and I think I will have to give it a try (and I don't think I've ever had pollock either - it seems as though I'ved a rather sheltered culinary life, doesn't it??)

katrina said...

How sweet, Barb! Delighted you enjoy the photos - I sure enjoy taking them, though it's frustrating when the sun goes away and I'm left with a rather chilly photograph! One of these days I need to explore indoor photography lighting, I think. Thanks for your kind words!

Actually, if you've ever had a McD's fish filet, or imitation crab meat, or fish & chips, or fish sticks - you've probably had pollock. I'm sure much of it is Alaska pollock, but a good deal comes from George's Bank, off the New England coastline.

If you can't get super fresh pollock where you are, you can settle for cod or haddock - but it's lots more expensive, and I don't think as good. Pollock is a fresh, sweet, white fish, tho when you buy it, the fish looks rosy - it cooks up firm and white. Thanks again for swinging by!