Every year I invite a group of friends over a few weeks before the holidays so we can have a nice dinner together before everything gets crazy with family & kids. I cook the main meal but my friends always bring over snacks and appetizers to nibble on before dinner. Usually this works well but this year two sets of people ended up bringing sushi trays. While we all love sushi it tends to not mix well with pastries and such so the next morning I ended up some leftover sushi in my fridge. The only thing I hate more than day old sushi is throwing away perfectly good food. What can I do with a mixed plate of raw fish?? Then it hit me - Seafood Chowder!
Since this was a "freebie" I thought might as well experiment and try to use as much of what is on the trays as I could and see what I can come up with.
I hope you enjoy....
Step 1: Take Inventory...
First thing is to figure out what I had and what I would need..
I had 4 pieces of sashimi, soy sauce, wasabi paste & pickled ginger on one tray. On the other tray was some sliced octopus, a cooked shrimp, crab, glass noodles, seaweed, sliced cucumber & some fish eggs.
From my fridge I pulled out cream, sour cream, bacon, an onion & a lemon.
I think I can do this...
Step 2: The Prep...
I separated the platters and put the usable ingredients on a board with the diced onion and chopped bacon.
In a frying pan with butter and a bit of oil I fried the onions till soft and set them aside.
In the same pan I fried the bacon until crispy and also set it aside.
Step 3: The Starch...
Usually in my seafood chowder I like chunks of potato but the only starch available was the sushi rice. Since this rice was meant to be "formed" I re-shaped it into little bite size cubes.
(Hint: wet your fingers a bit so the rice does not stick to them - it makes it easier to shape).
I then fried these in the bacon fat to crisp them up and add some flavour to the rice.
Step 4: The Broth...
I did not have any stock on hand or enough vegetables to make a quick veg stock but I did have a ton of flavour items on my board so I threw caution to the wind and made do with what I had.
In a pot of boiling water I added the onions, seaweed, some picked ginger and a bit of soy sauce. I boiled this together for 5 minutes then let it simmer for a while to let the flavors combine and concentrate. Once I was happy with the taste I strained out the solids and had a good base broth to work with.
Step 5: Wasabi Sour Cream...
I took some sour cream and started mixing in the wasabi paste. My goal was to get a nice green "garnish" that I could place on the top of the soup and that you could stir in as you ate. I ended up using up all of the wasabi to get the color I wanted but the sour cream does a good job of masking the wasabi's "heat", plus it will be mixed into a whole bowl of cream soup so I was not too worried.
Step 6: Putting It All Together...
I chopped up all of the fish and added that to the broth I then added the bacon, noodles and rice "crisps". After a couple of minutes I turned down the heat to a low and added a cup of cream. I let this slowly come back up to temperature and allowed for the flavors to blend and the soup to thicken a bit.
Since the sashimi fish was cut so thinly this soup should be eaten immediately as trying to reheat it would probably cause the fish to just dissolve. If I was to do this again Iwould not have added the noodles. It just seemed odd having noodles in a chowder as I was eating it.
Step 7: The Result!
To serve ladle the soup into a bowl take a small spoon of the wasabi sour cream and drop it on the top of the soup, sprinkle the fish eggs on top with a squirt of lemon juice. I also threw in the small chopped cucumber and a couple of pieces of the pickled ginger.
While this is not a traditional chowder it has all the best warming qualities of a good hearty soup and while many of the flavors are asian it also is by no means an asian styled soup. This is “Far East” meets “East Coast” fusion at its best.... I only wish there was more left over sushi so I could make more!
[P.S.: I did not include a traditional recipe here as I did not follow one and since this is working with leftovers if you decide to make this the ingredients will be based on what you have on hand anyway. I did review a couple of chowder recipes to get basic proportions and ingredients.]