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Emmett Watson's Salmon Chowder

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Many years ago, I had the pleasure of eating lunch at Emmett Watson's in Pike Place. One of the dishes that I enjoyed that day was the salmon chower. It was rich, full-flavored and was topped with a sensational garlic sauce concoction.

Any Seattle Chowhounds know the secret to Emmett's success with this dish? Is the sauce an aioli or something else? I have searched the internet high and low looking for a salmon chowder recipe that is like Emmetts. but it has been so many years since I tasted it, I can't recall all of the ingredients.

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    1. We love the salmon chowder and had it in December. I'd say the secrets to this chowder are a thin, flavorful broth (I'd guess onions, maybe fennel, lots of dried basil, seafood broth), the perfectly cooked salmon, and lots of aioli.

      1. I know this sounds odd, and I forgot if it's Bon Appetit or Gourmet, but you can write in and request recipes from restaurants you have visited and enjoyed. They have an area in the front of the magazine for recipes from restaurants that readers wanted to know.

        1. This is Pamale Lanier's "World Famous" recipe which I cut down to 5-10 servings. May not be Emmett's but it looks pretty good. I'ma fixin' to make it in a couple of days when my vegan sister gets here. Note that there's no corn in it!

          Pamela Lanier's World Famous Salmon Chowder
          1 quart fish stock ( salmon & halibut bones) or clam juice
          1 1/2 cups Butter roux ( Equal parts clarified butter and flour mix to equal 3 cups)
          1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
          1 pint light cream
          1 pint heavy cream
          3/4 pound diced Potato 3/4 inch
          1/2 pound diced celery 3/8 inch
          1/2 pound diced carrot 3/8 inch
          1/2 pound diced onion 3/8 inch
          3 bay leaves
          3/4 pound fresh sockeye boneless, skinless 3/4 inch chunks
          1/4 pound BBQ smoked salmon boneless, skinless 3/4 inch chunks
          3/4 tablespoon crushed fennel seed
          2 ounces Pernod or other anise liqueur
          Salt & coarse black pepper to taste
          1/2 cup fresh pesto for garnish 1/2 tsp per bowl ( or as much as you like)
          Directions:
          1. In a two gallon heavy pot add fish stock and bring to boil, then add butter roux and cook for 20 min until smooth and binding consistency.
          Add tomato paste, light cream and 1/2 amount of heavy cream. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

          2. Add Vegetables. Add spices. Save 1/4 of each spice until the very end. Cook at simmer for 15 minutes.

          3. Final stage: add diced salmon, remaining spices and the rest of the heavy cream. Adjust with salt and pepper. Simmer for additional 10 minutes. Add the Pernod as you take it off the fire.

          4. Serve in a heated bowl topped with fresh pesto and enjoy with sourdough bread and a glass of crisp Chardonnay.

          Notes(Scargod's): Emmett Watson's version of Salmon Chowder was known for the garlic aioli that topped the bowl. The pesto in Pamela Lanier's recipe is not defined. I reproduced Lanier's recipe without changes except for noting that clam juice could be substituted for fish stock. I recently found fish bouillon (cubes) in an Asian store. I think fresh fennel would be great in it and use less or no Pernod. The anise flavor may not have been in Emmett's. I have to confess I never had it. I've eaten all around the place, so you might say Im circling in.

          1. Pike Place Market produced a cook book. It's still available. I am sure that the chowder is in the book.

            2 Replies
            1. re: CurtA

              The recipe is in the first edition of the Pike Place Market cook book. I can't imagine it would be dropped from the updated edition.

              According to my memory there is NO cream in the Emmett Watson version. But there is aioli and its very tasty.

              1. re: jenn

                I have the recipe and will share tomorrow as soon as I transpose it from Photoshop.

            2. 4 slices hearty bread
              1 tablespoon olive oil
              2 cloves garlic, minced
              1 medium onion, chopped
              48 ounces clam juice (six, 8 ounce bottles)
              14 ounces whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
              2 1/2 tablespoons dry white wine
              1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
              1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
              Kosher salt
              fresh ground black pepper
              1 Pound fillets fo fresh salmon, skinned and cut into bite-sized chunks
              1/2 pound lean fish fillets, like halibut, cod or red snapper, bite-sized chunks
              1/2 pound clams, scrubbed
              1/2 pound mussels, scrubed

              Aoili
              3 cloves garlic, minced
              1/2 large egg
              5 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
              1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
              1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
              1/2 cup olive oil

              1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place bread on baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes, turning once until dry and crisp. Remove from oven and reserve.

              2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and saute garlic and onion three minutes or until opaque. Do not brown. Add clam juice, tomatoes, white wine, oregano and pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.

              3. Just before you are ready to serve, add seafood. Cover and simmer for five to seven minutes, or until fish is done and shelfish opens. Remove any clams or mussels that do not open.

              4. To serve, place the reserved croutons on the botom of four bowls, then divide the contents among the bowls. Drizle aoili over the top.

              5. Aoili: In blender, combine garlic, egg, lemon juice, salt and pepper and process about two minutes. While still running, add olive oil in a slow, thin stream until smooth and thick. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 2/3 cup.