Irish Seafood Chowder

After my daughter Alycia came back from a semester abroad at Cork University College in Cork, Ireland she wanted to recreate some of the wonderful food that she enjoyed there. She found this recipe on the website for Poachers Inn in Bandon, Cork. This is a wonderful, rich chowder with salmon, shrimp & crab.  I have added conversions from grams & liters to cups & ounces as well as instructions for a few of the steps that they assumed you would know how to do.

Servings: 4-6

150g (⅔ cup – about 2 ½ Tbsp each) carrots, fennel, celery & onion, diced
1 liter (≈ 1 quart) milk
500ml (≈ 2 cups) cream
1 Tablespoon fish bouillon powder or 2 shrimp bouillon cubes (see notes)
salt, to taste
Roux, to thicken (equal quantities of oil & flour mixed to a paste)
1 ½ lemons (zest & juice)
6 star anise (wrapped in cheesecloth for easy removal)
½ teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
250g (½ lb) salmon, cut into ½” pieces
150g ( lb) firm white fish (e.g. cod, haddock) , cut into ½” pieces
3 Tablespoons white wine
100g (¼ lb) crabmeat
100g (¼ lb) prawns (shrimp)
1 Tablespoon chives, chopped

  1. Heat skillet over low heat. Add enough oil to just cover bottom of the pan. Add carrot, fennel, celery & onion. Cover pan. Stir occasionally, cooking until veggies are translucent and soft, but have not started to brown – about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the salmon & white fish on an oven tray and place in a pre-heated 180 ℃ / 350 ℉ oven for 10 minutes. It should be slightly undercooked, since it will be cooked further after adding to the chowder.
  3. Place the cream, milk, bouillon, salt & garlic in a pot and place on full heat and whisk well.
  4. When the pot is just at boiling point (be careful here not to let it boil over as it can “split” the milk) add a tablespoon of roux and whisk it well for a couple of minutes and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the flour taste to cook out (add more roux at this point if you think it needs more thickening).
  5. Add lemon juice & zest, whisking as you add.
  6. Add salmon & white fish and stir well, then add star anise.
  7. Add white wine and cook for 10 minutes. If it is too thick, whisk in some hot water to thin it out.
  8. Add crab & prawns. Cook just until done.
  9. To finish, remove star anise and stir in cooked vegetables.
  10. Garnish with chives and serve with fresh homemade brown bread.



Pan-Seared Scallops with Shallots, Tarragon & Chives

adapted from Food & Wine

1 lb large bay scallops
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


2-3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 med shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, minced
2 Tbsp fresh chives, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Pat the scallops dry.
  2. Heat skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the oil and butter. Heat until butter is melted and sizzling.
  3. Pat the scallops dry once more, then add onto the pan in a single layer. Do not overcrowd. Let sear for 1 to 1 minutes.
  4. Using tongs, turn the scallops and sear until the other side is equally browned (another 1 to 2 minutes). Scallops should be almost firm to the touch.
  5. Remove the scallops from the pan, and set aside to keep warm.
  6. Return the pan to the stove and lower the heat to medium. Add 1/2 Tbsp butter and shallots. Sauté until shallots are tender, about 1 minute.
  7. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half.
  8. Add the herbs, then reduce the heat to low.
  9. Add the remaining butter to taste, and whisk constantly until all the butter is melted.
  10. Salt & pepper to taste.
  11. Return the scallops to the pan, and spoon sauce over them.
  • I served this with corn on the cob – the sauce was delicious with the corn, also.

Shrimp Mold with Cucumber Sauce

Dorothy Mynard, a friend of my mother

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 can tomato soup
2 Tbsp gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
10 oz shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked and chopped


1 large cucumber, diced
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp chili sauce

  1. Heat cream cheese with tomato soup in a double boiler until smooth.
  2. Dissolve gelatin in cold water.  Add to soup mixture. Cool.
  3. Fold in mayonnaise, celery, onion & shrimp.
  4. Pour into mold and refrigerate until set.
  5. Make dressing: mix all ingredients until well combined.
  6. Serve portions of shrimp mold with dressing ladled over the top.
  • This is a fairly simple, but elegant dish for brunch on a warm day.

Shrimp Canape Filling

this is one of the fillings I used for cherry tomatoes at my wedding reception

3 6-oz cans shrimp, rinsed & drained
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chives, chopped
1/2 tsp rosemary, crushed
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Beau Monde Seasoning

  1. Chop shrimp finely.
  2. Mash cream cheese & blend in shrimp & seasonings.
  3. Use to fill hollowed out cherry tomatoes, mini cream puffs or as a spread on crackers.

Portuguese Fish Supper

adapted from Rachael Ray

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 pound Mexican chorizo, casing removed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large bundle kale
few gratings of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
8 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 thick pieces cod or haddock fillets (6-8 oz each)
Old Bay seasoning
Italian parsley, chopped

  1. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat in a high-sided skillet or Dutch oven.
  2. Add chorizo and render for a couple of minutes, then add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Strip kale leaves from stems. Slice stems into ¼” pieces (like celery). Chop leaves coarsely.
  5. Stir in the stock, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kale stems, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Add kale leaves and toss to wilt, then season with a few grates of nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Season the fish with Old Bay seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the fish to the sauce and cover. Cook until the fish is opaque and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. Ladle into shallow bowls garnished with parsley.
  9. Serve with crusty bread for mopping.
  • Rachael Ray uses Spanish chorizo, but I have not found it in my area, so I substitute Mexican chorizo. I believe the seasonings are the same, but Mexican chorizo is a raw sausage.
  • You can discard the kale stems if you prefer, but with a little extra cooking they taste great & I hate to waste them.
  • You can substitute Swiss chard or spinach for the kale. 
  • You can substitute any other seafood for the fish – shrimp, scallops, or ???

Coconut Shrimp Curry

adapted from “Coconut Shrimp with Garlic” in Better Homes and Gardens’ “Fast & Simple Stir-Fry”
When I tasted this recipe it reminded me of the flavors in the Green Curry at my favorite Thai restaurant, so I added green curry paste and oh, my!

1 lb shrimp
3/4  cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp fish sauce or 1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2  tsp pepper
1-2 tsp green curry paste, to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz asparagus, cut in 1″ pieces
cooked rice
2 Tbsp cilantro or parsley, optional


  1. Mix coconut milk, fish or soy sauce, pepper & curry paste. Set aside.
  2. Pour oil into skillet or wok to coat lightly. Preheat over med-high heat.
  3. Add asparagus, stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add garlic, stir-fry for 15 seconds. Remove vegetables from pan.
  4. Add half the shrimp to the pan. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until opaque. Remove from pan, repeat with remaining shrimp.  Return all shrimp to pan.
  5. Stir coconut milk mixture & pour over shrimp. Cook & stir until bubbly.
  6. Return vegetables to pan. Cook & stir for about 1 minute or until heated through.
  7. Serve with rice. Cilantro can be stirred into the rice if desired.
  • Start with a small amount of green curry paste, you can add more after tasting the sauce.
  • You can substitute sliced chicken breast for the shrimp.
  • You can substitute other vegetables.  My favorite is snow pea pods, but frozen Asian vegetable mixes work well, also.

Clam Chowder

This is adapted from a recipe that Judy Callaway, a co-worker at UC Davis, brought to a potluck. Everybody loved it so much that she kindly shared her recipe. This makes a lot – I recommend a half recipe for singles or those who do not like leftovers.

Servings: 8

10 medium red potatoes, unpeeled, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cans (7 oz) chopped clams, undrained
1/2  cup butter
16 oz lowfat cream cheese
1 quart fat-free half & half
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place potatoes and onions in large pot.  Cover with water.  Boil until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Heat through.
  • Judy also added  1/2 lb bacon, chopped & cooked until crisp, but I usually don’t do this.
  • You can thicken the soup with cornstarch if desired  – I don’t think this is needed.
  • Marissa Davis Hefner’s variation: substitute 2 cups chopped ham for clams, add 2 cups frozen corn & chopped green chile to taste (we use about 1/2  cup).

Crab Cakes with Wasabi Caper Sauce

adapted from Gourmet Magazine March 2005

2/3  c mayonnaise
4 Tbsp capers, chopped finely
1-4 tsp wasabi paste, to taste

2 eggs
1 1/2  Tbsp mayonnaise
3/4  tsp Chinese hot mustard
2 Tbsp green onions, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 lb crab meat
1 1/2  c  panko

oil for frying


  1. Mix 2/3  c mayo, capers & wasabi.  Chill until ready to use.
  2. Whisk eggs, 1 1/2  Tbsp mayo, & mustard.
  3. Stir in onions, ginger & 3/4  cup panko.
  4. Stir in crab meat.
  5. Divide into 8 parts & shape each into 1″ thick patty.  Coat with remaining panko.
  6. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour or freezer for 15 minutes.
  7. Fry in 3/4″ deep hot oil until golden brown, turning once.  Drain & serve with sauce.
  • The original recipe included 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped – I omit this. You can add them if you like.  They also used leeks instead of green onions.
  • Trader Joe’s has a great canned crabmeat in the deli section – good price & nice chunks of meat.

Succulent Shrimp Salad

adapted from The Quarter of Six Cookbook

8 oz frozen cooked shrimp, thawed & drained
10 oz pkg frozen peas, thawed & drained
1 head lettuce, shredded (romaine works best)
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ Tbsp soy sauce
garlic powder to taste (I use about ½ tsp)
1 small can chow mein noodles


  1. Mix mayonnaise, soy sauce & garlic powder.
  2. Toss shrimp, peas & lettuce together.
  3. Pour dressing over & toss again.
  4. Top with chow mein noodles.
  • I think I’m going to try this with spinach or chard instead of the lettuce.