Striper Head Chowder
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Cuisine: Fine Dining
Techniques: Braise, Saute / Pan-Fry, Stew
Occasions: Cookout / BBQ, Fourth of July, Picnic
Prep Time: 1 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 5 hr 0 min
Main Ingredients: Dairy, Fish, Potatoes
- Head and collar of 1 Large striped bass (scaled)
- Carrots (rough chopped)
- A big onion with dirt on it (rough chopped - washed first)
- A tomato from your garden
- Good pasture-grown organic bacon
- Nice small potatoes
- Thyme, parsley, salt & pepper
- A big pot
- Oil and butter
- Half and Half
- Heavy Cream to finish
- Scale the fish well including right up to gill plates, all around cheeks and under chin. Remove gills. Remove head and wash well (Cut 1" behind the skull, through backbone and behind pectoral fins). Be careful not to break gall bladder which contains a vile yellow liquid. Clean out all blood especially from area where head meets spinal column.
- Put olive oil and butter in a heavy pan with chopped onion and carrot. Season with sea salt & cracked black pepper. Saute over medium heat for about 15 minutes until taking on color. Add thyme and a good pinch of rosemary halfway through.
- Add vegetables to large Dutch oven or stock pot with striper head and water to almost cover, a sliced tomato, more thyme & parsley. Add salt and pepper, tasting for seasoning. Bring to a boil then gently simmer on medium heat for an hour. Flip head carefully and simmer for another hour. This is your stock.
- Strain liquid into another pot picking out the good chunks of meat, leaving vegetables, bones and stray scales behind. Let solids cool a bit so you can pick through and get all that beautiful meat. Add meat back to strained liquid and simmer for another hour.
- Dice up a few slices of bacon and cook on medium heat, stirring periodically to render fat and keep meat from sticking. Chop up another onion medium-fine and add to bacon. Brown for 10 minutes. Boil potatoes skin on in a pot of water for 10 minutes until just soft. Rinse with cold water. Slice and chop into small chunks. Add to bacon-onion and continue frying for 5-10 minutes until fat is absorbed, adding a little water if necessary to prevent sticking. Add this to stock pot along with a quart of half & half, a quart of heavy cream and more thyme. Heat gently to prevent milk from scalding. Serve with crusty bread.
Many chefs utilize the overlooked parts of animals for the finest rustic dishes The cheek and neck meat of the bass or cod is some of the finest - full of luscious oil and firm dark flavorful meat. The top of the back gives you some light meat from the front of the steaks. Your guests will thank you.