Red Fish Chowder

"What's for Dinner Honey?"

Rick Lyons redefines "manly" for modern times.  Not just an accomplished chef, he's more than likely caught whatever he's cooking that evening.  He'll offhandedly say "I was out this morning and I got a..."  and he doesn't mean he was at Stop n' Shop.  Last weekend it was a 40 pound bass** that he caught off of Cohasset Harbor.

Betty ran into him at The Fruit Center- perusing the aisles and making up a recipe for fish stew as he went.  He kindly promised to jot down how he put it together so that fishmarket shopping mortals like us can recreate the magic.

Here's what he says: "I've never written up a recipe before so no guarantees about the results. This came out really well for me but I just sort of wing it so measurements below are strictly guesses.  I love this time of year, good fishing, good eating".  Sounds perfect to us!

Striped Bass Stew- from Rick Lyons


1 leek trimmed and cleaned, medium chop
1 large sweet onion, medium to fine dice
4 or 5 good sized tomatoes {from the backyard!} {dip in boiling water for 30 seconds, peel off skin, remove seeds and watery tomato innards, rough chop}
small can tomato paste
heaping teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
3 pounds fresh fish {I used Striped Bass} 2 inch cubes
2 pounds potatoes, 3/4 inch cubes {chunked up baby yukons with skin on is fine}
2 to 3 quarts fish stock* {Go here> for a classic lobster stock recipe}
pint of heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
a couple tablespoons of butter
a couple tablespoons of olive oil

In a large stock pot heat the butter and olive oil, toss in the leeks and onion and sweat down, maybe giving them just a hint of color. Add fish stock, bing to a simmer, add tomatoes, tomato paste and Old Bay seasoning. Once back at a simmer, add potatoes bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are just done. Add in fish, bring back to a simmer until fish is just cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes depending on heat. Add cream but don't boil as it will break the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh crusty bread for dipping.

*The fish stock gives this stew/soup its base. I used some lobster stock that I had frozen which worked well. This is a time comsuming step unless you make a big batch ahead of time and freeze it but it makes all the difference in flavor. Chicken stock, vegetable stock or even some store bought clam juice are possible alternatives.

Sounds delicious, no?  We'll add 'modest' to the list of his modern man attributes too, since Rick's wife Jacki, beautiful and talented {interior design, not fishing}, admits that they eat like this most nights...

**{go here> to see Patrick Holoway with one (of several} of the day's bass.}