Cleaning Out the Freezer Recipes
Spring means it’s time to clean out the freezers. I’m always amazed what “gems” I find in the back. Sometimes there’s items I can’t even identify. Sometimes there’s items that have so much freezer burn on them it could be some sort of fancy ice crystal castle.
When I was growing up my mother always called freezer burn “flavor crystals”. It wasn’t until I was much, much older that I realized the lie. But, what I have learned over the years is that many of these freezer burn items do really well in recipes that are slow cooked with great seasoning.
Freezer burn can be caused by the food being exposed to air which doesn’t necessarily mean the food is bad even though it may not look appetizing. When food is frozen, water molecules in the food turn into ice crystals which means you may be looking at that fancy ice crystal castle after all.
Yes, some of these items may need to be discarded but other times you can make soups. I found six different single packets of salmon in the back of the freezer. No, I have no idea why we saved one salmon fillet here and a different salmon fillet there. Like I said – always some interesting “gems”.
All in all, the six salmon fillets weighed in at about 1.5 pounds. They were all pretty ice crystally and definitely wouldn’t look good on a plate. Enter salmon chowder!
Salmon Chowder Recipe
- 1 ½ lbs frozen salmon
- ½ lb red potatoes
- 2 medium leeks
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ lb bacon
- 2 T butter
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup frozen corn
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup dry vermouth or white wine
- 2 cups fish stock
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 cup coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Thaw salmon and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. Cut potatoes into ½ inch cubes
- Press garlic and thin slice white and light green parts of leeks. All to rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Cook bacon. Allow to cool and then crumble. Reserve 2 Tablespoons bacon fat.
- Add butter to bacon fat. Cook leeks with pinch of sea salt, corn, paprika, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper flakes for approximately 4 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook another minute.
- Add vermouth and simmer until almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in stock, water, potatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Decrease heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
- Add milk, bring to a light boil then decrease heat again.
- Add salmon and bacon. Cook until salmon is cooked through, 5-8 minutes. Using a fork, flake the salmon into large pieces.
- Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Discard bay leaf and fresh thyme springs if using. Serve