A Seaman’s Chowder
Life has taught me that sometimes when separate events happen and you find a way to tie them together, a great memory can be created. A sailor, a restaurant chef, and a hearty fish and I are about to pass it forward. If you like chowder we’ll even share the secrets.
My friend Bob and I have hunted and fished for years. One such fishing trip takes place annually when America celebrates Flag Day on June 14th. On one such trip, we headed to Wellfleet, Cape Cod, and the weather showed a couple of clouds, light breeze, and cool water. On this particular year Bob had just turned 90 so it made the day very special.
We were after what is known as striped bass and it has been in the Atlantic along America’s coast since colonial days. Today Captain George said “we’ll see a lot of great action and nice fish,” and like most used car salesmen he had his lines down quite well! Out on the ocean the bait fish were near the top, their location revealed by the swarms of sea birds constantly on the dive.
After four hours Bob and I both had very tired arms from all the catching, but most of the fish were not large enough to keep. “Can’t make fish chowder without the fish,” Bob grumbled. He’s a shrewd one. Not to worry: it took only 2 more minutes and it was FISH ON! For 26 minutes he fought what turned out to be a 16 kg (36 pound) striper that mate Dave put safely in the well. It was the big one that did NOT get away.
The recipe this time is from me and a sailor named Joshua Slocum who I’m sure never intended his name for the lights. We both have secrets in this dish, he the potatoes, onions and a few of the herbs, and me with the fish, the cream, the paprika and, most importantly, the timing.