Greetings from sunny and hot Nova Scotia. I am playing catch up on a few posts I’ve had sitting in drafts for a few weeks now.
Ever since my visit to Toronto’s Grand Electric in May, I’ve been craving fish tacos again. I finally decided to give homemade ones a go, and I am so glad I did because these were easy to make and will become a new staple. I am hoping to recreate them here in Nova Scotia.
I feel like summer is well and truly over. Weather-wise back in London, it’s been pretty poor — a freezing 9 degrees when I left the house yesterday morning. I’ve been back to work for a week now and so my weeks of checking email only once every couple of days are a distant memory. I do love fall though, and am excited for it, but before we get into spiked pumpkin latte season (shout-out for you MC, ha ha), a few late summer recipes are still to come on the blog.
I made this chowder a couple of weeks ago in Sandy Cove. We were fortunate to have some amazing seafood on hand — haddock, clams, and leftover lobster. I love a good chowder and so thought it would be the perfect way to combine it all.
I started loosely basing it on this one from The Bite House, but ended up changing things around fairly quickly. I only used a small amount of fennel (garden-fresh too!) but had to remove it as even the smell was too licoricey for me. Instead of sausage I used about 4 slices of bacon. I followed Bryan’s liquid measurements closely, and it came out the perfect most rich (but not overly rich) silky chowder. Much better than my first attempt three years ago! Most ingredients in the bowl were Nova Scotian, and all of the seafood had been caught locally. I know a lot of people eat like this all the time (well, for at least part of the year), but it’s still a novelty for me to cook a meal that is well and truly ‘local’, and a very good feeling.
To me, this is the perfect late winter/early spring ‘transition’ meal. I know some of my Canadian readers will want to scream when they read this, but here in London it’s felt like spring for about a month now. Daffodils are out and trees are blooming. But it’s odd: we’re into spring without ever really having had winter — in my mind anyway. We had no snow other than a few days of flurries, and maybe 1 or 2 days below freezing temperatures.
Anyway, onto the risotto. This recipe is adapted from….wait for it….Lidl magazine, which I received free with my Saturday Guardian a about a month ago (yes, I made this at the beginning of March!). For some reason it caught my eye, and I ordered some smoked haddock in order to try it out. Here’s my version:
Smoked Haddock & Leek Risotto
Cook the haddock (300g): I followed the method used in the original recipe, a warm milk bath. This is not a method I had used before, but it seemed it work: “place the fish into a dish and cover with the hot milk [250ml], black peppercorns and bay leaf. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes then flake the fish into pieces discarding any bones or skin, strain the milk and reserve.”
Meanwhile, start the risotto: melt 1.5 tablespoon butter in a saucepan and add in a large handful of chopped leeks as well as one chopped shallot. Cook gently for ~7 minutes.
Add arborio rice and lightly toast for 1-2 minutes, until the rice begins to look translucent. Then deglaze the pan with a cup (~230ml) of white wine. Continue cooking, adding in vegetable stock one ladle at a time, until the rice is your preference of done-ness (I like mine slightly al dente).
When the rice is finished, stir in some grated Parmesan and 2 tsp wholegrain mustard, along with the fish and a bit of the milk for extra creaminess. Garnish with some finely chopped parsley or chives.
As risottos go, this was a fairly rich one, even without the mascarpone that the original recipe called for! However, it was delicious, and definitely one I will be making again. H. claimed it was his favourite risotto I’ve made, and there have been quite a few of them. The smokiness of the fish mixed with the leek worked very well together. My stomach is grumbling just thinking about it!