Walleye are native to the Ozarks and back in the day were called jack salmon for reasons beyond understanding. When the Corps of Engineers dammed the White, Ouachita, and Little Red rivers for flood control and electrical generation, they also created wonderful fisheries in which walleye have thrived. To keep the populations at catchable levels Arkansas stocks the lakes to supplement any natural reproduction.
For those of us who both fish and cook, these facts create a wonderful opportunity to prepare fresh fish of the highest quality. Not that you have to catch fish yourself to enjoy this chowder recipe. You can substitute halibut, cod, hake, or any firm white fish other than tilapia. Don't you dare use tilapia for anything.
1 pound walleye filets, chunked into 2" cubes
1 pound golden potatoes with skin on, sliced in 1/4 inch half moons
White parts of 1 leek, sliced in half rings
1 onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small carrot, shredded
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch julienne
1 8 oz. bottle clam juice
1 rounded Tablespoon flour
1 cup half and half
1 cup of cream
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
sriracha to taste
1 Tablespoon EVOO
Brown the bacon slices in the bottom of a dutch oven in the oil.
Remove and reserve the bacon.
Gently saute the onion, carrot, and leeks in the residual fat.
Add the spices and flour and continue to cook for 1 minute while stirring.
Add the garlic and cook while stirring another minute.
Add the clam juice and use it to deglaze the pot.
Add the bacon back to the pot.
Add the half and half, the cream, and the potatoes and simmer until the dary taste has disappeared and the potatoes are done, and the soup has thickened.
Add the fish and cook with minimal stirring until the fish is done through.