Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's that time of year again!

Spring is finally giving forth some of her gifts and one of our favorites is the Stinging Nettle. That's right Nettles, those pesky plants that invade any feshly tilled spot before you can get anything else to come up there, are one of our favorite spring treats! I've been making this for a few summers now and we are hooked! Last night, son Charles and I harvested a big basket of shoots and got enough to freeze. Last year I wrote up the recipe: here it isl
Trust me, you'll smile too when the stinging nettles take over!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rockfish Chowder

The first comercial Halibut long line trip is underway for husband John (summer must be here!) and one of the benefits for us, you would think, would be fresh Halibut on our menu...but alas, that fish is all spoken for by people with way more money than we have. So we console ourselves with something I think is even better...Rockfish! The Shortraker Rockfish that swims in areas along with the Halibut is also an allowable by-catch. Because the Rockfish run with the Halibut, it is inevitable they are brought up on the longline hooks. Since the fish have come up so quckly from the bottom, throwing them back usually means a bunch of dead Rockfish. So as not to waste all those wonderful fish, John has worked out a deal with a local processor to breakdown and package them in trade for half the haul. It gives us a nice supply of legal fish at a cost that doesn't hurt our bottom line! One of our favorite ways to use it is to make Soup...

Easy Rockfish Chowder:

In a 6 quart heavy bottom soup pot saute:
1 medium onion-diced
3 lg carrots - diced
3 ribs celery - diced
3 Tablespoons olive oil

When onion is translucent, deglaze pan with 1/2 cup white wine. Stir until liquid is mostly absorbed and sprinkle on 1/2 cup of flour and stir to coat all vegetables. Pour in 2 quarts Fish stock (or water!) and stir over medium heat until the flour is incorporated and add 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced and and a hearty pinch or two of salt. cook over medium low heat until the potatoes are soft and the broth is thickened. It is important to stir frequently during this process as the flour will want to cling to the bottom of the pan!
Add 1 pound of Rockfish, raw and cut into 1 " chunks, stir until fish is cooked, this will only take a moment or two.
Finish with a cup of heavy cream, a squeeze from half a lemon and a tablespoon of dill (dried or fresh, use what you have!)