I have been raving about the importance of meal planning and how it has saved me money. But there is a down-side to meal planning. I don’t know if I just had a weird week, or if I just don’t feel like anything lately (maybe a side effect to just having a baby?), but this week, I found myself not wanting what I had planned. Usually, if something doesn’t sound good one day, I’ll just cook a different meal on that week’s plan and come back to the one meal later in the week. But this week? Every day I found myself not looking forward to what I was making.
But – I plugged through and cooked anyway. And actually ended up cooking every night this week. And surprise – even liking what I cooked, even though I wasn’t feeling it to begin with!
This was one that I was really not feeling like making. Maybe it was the fact that I’ve been trying to use up my bag of frozen sub-par salmon. (Actually, I’m pretty sure that had a lot to do with it.) But in the end, I actually liked this quite a bit. (And just for the record – this is a great way to use up a low-quality salmon!) Salmon and dill were really meant to go together. And since it’s been snowing here the last few days, (what? Isn’t it supposed to be Spring outside?), this was the perfect meal to warm me up.
Salmon and Dill Chowder with Pastry Crust
adapted from 30 Minute Meals
total time: 30 minutes
1 sheet prepared puff pastry, thawed
2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
3 to 4 slices lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 to 4 small ribs celery, chopped
1 large Idaho potato, chopped
1 tablespoon crab boil seasoning (such as Old Bay)
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped dill
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Choose 4 bowls to serve in and using one as a template, cut out 4 pastry pieces the size and shape of your bowl. Use a sharp paring knife to work around the bowl. Arrange the pastry on a non-stick baking sheet. Beat the egg with a little bit of water and brush over the top of the dough. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, season the fish with salt and pepper. Place the salmon in a small pan and fill with water – just enough to cover the fish. Add the bay leaf and the lemon slices and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fish is opaque.
While the fish is poaching, in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the onion, celery and potatoes, and season with salt and pepper and the crab boil seasoning. Cover the pot to sweat the vegetables for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the salmon is done cooking, remove the salmon to a dish and flake it up. Strain the broth and reserve 1 to 1 1/2 cups.
Add the 1 cup of the chicken stock, reserved fish stock and cream to the vegetables. Bring it to a boil. In a small skillet, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour. Add the remaining cup of chicken stock and whisk for 1 minute. Whisk in the Dijon mustard. Add the roux to the soup and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Add in the peas, the flaked salmon and the dill and heat through. Serve in the individual bowls, topped with the puff pastry.