Cod Chowder with Bacon and Fresh Dill

I lied. This is actually Cod Chowder with Bacon, Fresh Dill and crab and white wine and whatever other delicious bits you can dream up. But that long of a title is somewhat unappealing, no?  This is one of those weeknight dinners that is actually incredibly fast to make (fish cooks in a snap, dontcha know!) and tastes so decadent you’d think it was already the weekend.

This recipe is loosely based on my mother’s famous Cod Chower and is high adaptable for any kind of white fish. You could also add salmon if you like, or some shrimp.

If you can get your hands on fish stock and some fresh dill, use them! Otherwise chicken stock and dried dill will do fine.

Cod Chowder with Bacon and Fresh Dill, and Crab

5 rashers of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 medium onion, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

2 cups fish stock or chicken stock

2 cups heavy cream

1.5 lbs cod fillets cut into bite size pieces

1 tbsp fresh dill, finely minced – or 1 tsp dried dill

1 small can real crab meat, drained

1/2 cu very dry white wine (optional)

salt and pepper, to taste

First, cook bacon until medium crispy, drain on paper towels and crumble. Reserve the bacon grease for cooking your veggies. Set bacon aside for later. Also it’s okay if you eat a little of the bacon because you are the cook and, quite frankly, you are hungry.

Next, sautée the vegetables you have so nicely diced in the bacon grease. Let them cook over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Measure your stock and add to your pot…

And do the same with your cream. Bring to a gentle simmer and continue simmering for 10 minutes until vegetables are quite tender.

While your pot is simmering away, prepare your fish and mince your dill. Add the fish and dill to your pot, cover, and let simmer about 15 minutes or until fish is cooked through. My pieces are slightly larger than bite-size. What can I say, JD has a big mouth…!

Add your crab and wine, if using, along with crumbled bacon, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir gently to combine and allow to simmer 15 minutes longer so that flavours can combine.

Serve with a glass of chilled white wine and enjoy!


Crispy Fish Tacos

I have had tacos on my mind for a while now. Specifically fish tacos. Over the past week I have read no shortage of fish taco recipes  – grilled, blackened, baja style (battered) and so on, ad naseum.

Don't you want me, baby? Don't you want me nowwwwww?

Making fish tacos also seemed like a good way for me to adapt a meal to the low-carb/candida diet methods…JD had his in tortillas as depicted above, I ate mine as a ‘taco bowl’ on top of shredded red and green cabbage. When JD saw this meal he said “I know this might be mean to say but I am kind of glad you are on this Candida diet thing. Everything is so fresh and awesome and delicious!” I guess you can’t argue with that logic, especially after you watch someone consume four tacos like it’s the first time they’ve seen food in a week.

To add to the spicy fish, I made home made pico de gallo (aka fresh salsa), home made guacamole and opted for pre-washed shredded red and green cabbage to top it off. I wanted spicy, fresh and something creamy to make up for the lack of cheese. You could always add cheese or sour cream if you like but in my opinion the cheese becomes unnecessary and may be too heavy for the lightness of the fish.

I used fresh cod, which was on sale, lucky for me. Any white fish will work here – haddock, cod, tilapia, etc.

Ah, but let’s do this in the right order – the pico de gallo:

Pico de Gallo (Fresh Salsa)

– 5-6 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I used roma, please use the ripest tomatoes you can get your hands on)

– 1/2 a medium red onion, diced

– 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (leave the seeds if you like things really hot)

– 3-4 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped

– 1.5 tbsp lime juice

– 0.5 tsp salt

1. Cut your tomatoes into quarters, remove and discard seeds (aka guts) with your hands. Chop tomatoes finely.

2. Chop onion and cilantro. Remove seeds from jalapeno and chop finely.

3. Add all veggies to a bowl and toss with lime juice and salt.

4. Allow salsa to sit for one hour as the salt will bring out the juice of the tomatoes and everything will mingle together happily.

A note on the guacamole: I prefer my guacamole smooth but JD likes his chunky. To compromise I devised this method which still gives the guacamole an addictive quality you can’t quite put your finger on.

Guacamole for 2

– 1 ripe avocado

– 1 clove garlic, peeled

– 3 tbsp chopped red onion

– 1/4 cup chopped tomato

– 1 tsp lime juice.

1. In a blender or food processed, blitz garlic clove, avocado and lime juice. If mixture is too stiff to blend, add a teaspoon or two of water.

2. Add avocado to your bowl and stir in the onion and tomato.

3. Tip: to prevent your guacamole from going brown in the fridge, add the avocado pit to the bowl. It will stay green and fresh :)

The crispy fish were actually no trouble to adapt to a candida diet (or low carb/gluten free, either). For the coating, instead of cow’s milk I used almond milk, which was so mild as to be undetectable. For the flour I used, brown rice flour. Bob’s Red Mill makes a stone ground brown rice flour that is sold at most major grocery stores (usually in the ‘health food’ section). Brown rice flour gives the coating a great crispiness but you could use any flour you have on hand (almond, spelt, wheat, etc.).

Crispy Fish for Tacos – Serves Two

– 3/4 lb firm white fish fillet (Cod, Haddock, Tilapia, etc)

– 1 cup brown rice flour

– 1 cup almond or rice milk

– 1 tsp chili powder

– 1 tsp cumin

– 1 tsp garlic powder

– 0.5 tsp freshly ground pepper

– 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

– 1/4 cup olive oil for frying (approximate)

1. In a shallow bowl, mix flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, pepper and cayenne together, set aside.

2. Pour almond milk into a second shallow bowl, set aside.

3. Cut fish into one inch pieces (bite size). Dip fish pieces one by one into almond milk and then into flour mixture, to coat.

4. Add olive oil to your skillet and preheat for 2-3 minutes. Add fish (you may need to do this in batches) and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. For thicker pieces it may take 3 minutes per side. Remove fish to a plate lined with paper towels and place in a warm oven while you do the other batches.

5. To assemble tacos (as if you need to know this): place a tablespoon of guacamole on a tortilla, followed by two tablespoons of salsa, top with 3-4 pieces of fish and shredded cabbage. If skipping the tortillas, arrange shredded cabbage in a large bowl, add several heaping tablespoons of salsa, a heaping spoonful of guacamole and arrange fish around the perimeter.

Voila, crispy fish tacos. JD was certainly enamoured with his!

The Julia version….

I have to say this dinner came together really quickly. It was fresh and delicious and very satisfying. I made the salsa and guac in advance but you really don’t need to. Other than the initial chopping of the vegetables, it’s a breeze. If you try it, let me know what you think.

xo Julia