Smoked fish--already cooked and intensely flavorful--is an ideal addition to dishes when time is of the essence. We've used trout here, but another flaky fish, such as haddock or whitefish, would work just as well.
1 tablespoon butter
2 ribs celery, chopped
6 scallions, white bulbs and green tops chopped and reserved separately
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound baking potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups water
1 quart canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup half-and-half
2 fillets peppered smoked trout, skin removed, fish flaked
How to Make It
In a large pot, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add the celery, the chopped scallion bulbs, and the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.
Add the potatoes, wine, water, broth, thyme, bay leaf, and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir the half-and-half into the soup. Simmer until the soup starts to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the trout and the scallion tops. Remove the bay leaf from the soup.
Wine Recommendation: California chardonnays can be overpowering, but this chowder provides a perfect showcase. Try a fruity chardonnay from Napa or the Sonoma Valley.
Notes: If peppered smoked trout isn't available, use regular smoked trout and one teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper instead.