John Dory Chowder with Mussels and Cider
I love white chowders, the creamy fish soups from New England. Here, my Cornish version contains some local cider, mussels (perfect if you can gather some from a beach somewhere as they are always pleasingly salty) and John Dory, which is firm, well-flavoured and a very special fish from the West Country.
|500g (1lb)||mussels, cleaned|
|150ml (¼ pint)||Cornish cider|
|100g (4oz)||piece of rindless smoked streaky bacon, cut into small cubes|
|1||small onion, finely chopped|
|20g (¾oz)||plain flour|
|1l (1¾ pints)||full-cream milk|
|2||potatoes (about 225g /8oz in total), peeled and cubed|
|225g (8oz)||John Dory fillet, cut into short, chunky strips|
|120ml (4fl oz)||double cream|
|A pinch||of cayenne pepper|
|Salt and freshly ground white pepper|
|2 tbsp||freshly chopped parsley|
Put the cleaned mussels and cider into a medium-sized pan over a high heat. Cover and cook for 2–3 minutes or until they have just opened, shaking the pan occasionally. Tip them into a colander set over a bowl to collect the juices, and remove any that have not opened. Leave to cool slightly and then remove the meats from the shells, cover and set aside. Discard the shells.
Melt the butter in another pan, add the bacon and fry until lightly golden. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes or until the onion has softened.
Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the milk and then add all but the last tablespoon or two of the mussel cooking liquor (the last drops might be a bit gritty). Add the potatoes and bay leaf and 1 level teaspoon of salt, and leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender.
Remove the bay leaf, add the pieces of John Dory and simmer for 2–3 minutes or until the fish is just cooked. Stir in the double cream and season to taste with cayenne pepper, salt and white pepper.
Remove from the heat and stir in the mussels, to warm them through briefly, and most of the chopped parsley. Serve in warmed bowls, sprinkled with the remaining parsley.