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Yankee Cured Salmon Chowder
By Jim Bailey, a.ka. "The Yankee Chef"

Imagine this: You're on a three or four month voyage to a land you have never
been to on a ship with the barest of essentials during the 17th century.

You eat well of fresh meats, cheeses, breads and such for the first month, maybe
month and a half. Then your diet is mostly salted meats and fish.

You notice one morning that your teeth are loosening up, you are completely
exhausted, sores appear on your body (taking many days to heal), your skin is
flaking off and your hair is dry and brittle.

The captain and mates say that you have contracted scurvy. In between your
meals of salted viands, you are given tart, mouth puckering lemons to alleviate
the symptoms of scurvy.

Doesn't sound like a great diet, huh? That's what happened to thousands of
people who came to New England and beyond in the centuries leading to better
diets aboard ships.

Curing was once a way of making food last on these long voyages. We now
have our choice of curing or not and I think you will find the Yankee curing
method below to be quite tasty and perfect for this New England chowder. Of
course, if you want, go ahead and suck on a lemon afterward if you want.

* * *

Everywhere you look in the media, salmon (as well as other fish) are being
baked, roasted and cured in a bed of salt alone. To me, it always lacked
something. Then it hit me. Why not prepare salmon using another New England
ingredient -- maple syrup?

So here is a Yankee cure that mixes salty and sweet, with the resulting salmon
perfect for whatever you want to do with it, including this New England
original chowder.

The addition of other Yankee ingredients in this soup not only remind you of
the Northeast but blend so well with the flavor of salmon.

By the way, to spare you some expense, you can simply substitute canned
salmon here as well. Make sure you pick all the bones and skin out first and add
at the very end.

2(4-ounce) boneless, skinless salmon fillets
3/4 cup coarse salt
3/4 cups maple syrup
Pinch black pepper
2 slices bacon, diced small
1/2 small red onion, diced small
2 medium-sized red potatoes, unpeeled and diced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup whole kernel corn
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine coarse salt, maple syrup and black pepper. Coat both
fillets and pack well. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Remove from fridge and rinse under cold running water well. Place on greased
or parchment lined backing tray and roast at 350-degrees F until just done, 10-12
minutes. Set aside.

Boil potatoes until tender. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, sauté bacon over medium-high heat in a deep saucepan until done
but not crisp. Add onions, cook and stir another 2 minutes. Add potatoes, peas,
corn, broth and heavy cream. Reduce heat to medium-low and bring to scalding,
stirring frequently. Chop salmon into bite-seized pieces and gently stir into
chowder. Season to taste and add another tablespoon butter to melt into
chowder if desired.

If you desire thicker chowder, simply melt 3 tablespoons butter and whisk in 2
tablespoons flour until smooth. Stir this into the chowder before adding
salmon.  Serve hot with a cornbread wedge.

About the author: Jim Bailey is The Yankee Chef™. Bailey is a third generation chef, a
New England food historian and food columnist. His first in a series of cookbooks is due
out in January of 2013, titled The Yankee Chef. He would love to hear from anyone about
their old family recipes. Email Jim Bailey any questions or comments:
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
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