By all logic, I should be asleep by now. It’s past 1 a.m. and I’ve just got in from a long flight and while I should have collapsed into bed, here I am, typing. Typing about yellow food (could it be this desert-candy thing is taking over my life?). You see, there’s an event going around in support of the Livestrong Foundation, whose signature color is yellow (remember all those bracelets?) to benefit the fight against cancer. Livestrong Day is Wednesday May 16th, and I’ll be damned if I don’t get this post up in time.
I’ve just returned from my uncle’s annual birthday bash, and if you remember the last time I went to Texas, you’ll know we had a blast. We were never big on birthdays in my family, a card and cake would suffice, so why exactly am I hauling myself halfway across the country for a party? Well, a few years ago, my uncle was suddenly diagnosed with a dangerous brain tumor. In one week, everything changed. There were doctors and procedures, days spent sleeping the waiting room of the ICU, a 6 hour surgery, and months of radiation. But then, my uncle recovered. We like to say he’s not just the same as he was before, he’s better. He runs everyday, has a fulfilling career, plays with the dogs, and has taken to powder-coating vintage chairs.
And every year we celebrate his birthday in a big way. This year the party’s theme was blue, and you’ll be hearing a lot more about that soon, but right now we’re still on yellow, ok ? (I hope you’re not as color-cross-eyed, tongue-tied as I am) Yellow is Lance Armstrong’s color, and since he’s also a Texan and my uncle and I saw him finish the Tour in Paris one summer, this is tying in rather nicely. Yellow is also the color of this saffron cod chowder. Now, I don’t really like chowders, all too often they’re heavy with cream or awful tinned milk and never seem to have enough seafood in them. This one, however, is completely different. It has a base thickened by potatoes, accented with a touch of cream, and flavored with saffron. Best of all, it has whole chunks of cod fillet and lots of flavor from the clam juice.
I wish I had a better photo for you all, but, people I am tired. But it’s a good tired, the kind where you fall right into a nice deep sleep. You all go off and check out the Livestrong Foundation, make some chowder, celebrate a birthday in a big way. I’ll see you in the morning.
Saffron Cod Chowder
Adapted from Bon Appetit. Serves 4-6.
2 thick-cut slices bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 leeks)
16 ounces bottled clam juice
1 pound fingerling or baby Dutch yellow potatoes, diced
1 cup water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 1/2 lb of cod fillets
- Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium heat until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Add leeks to same pot. Cook until leeks are very tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add clam juice, potatoes, 1/2 cup water, thyme, and saffron. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer until potatoes are just tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Stir in cream. Season chowder to taste with salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to puree the chowder until thick but still has some chunks in it. Stir in the bacon.
- Sprinkle cod with salt and pepper; place atop chowder. Cover and cook until cod is opaque in center, about 10 minutes. Use a spoon to break the cod fillets into large chunks. Ladle into bowls and serve.