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Fennel Seafood Chowder


English cooks have always known that fennel brings out the best in seafood. Fennel originally grew on the island of Madeira. Fennel is frequently mislabeled as anise. Look for a creamy white bulb topped with slender stalks and delicate fronds that resemble fresh dill leaves. The fronds can be used as a garnish. The seeds are prized for their delicate licorice-like flavor and are often mistaken for anise seeds which are greenish gray. In Italy, the small yellowish brown fennel seeds are crushed to release their flavor, then are added to pizza sauce.

    1 tablespoon butter
    1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
    2 cups finely chopped fennel bulb
    2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
    2 carrots, peeled and cubed
    2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
    1 cup fat-free milk
    1 ¼ teaspoons seasoning salt
    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    1 pound cod fillet, cut into small pieces
    ½ cup whipping cream
    ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
    Ground black pepper

    Fennel fronds for garnish

1.  In a 5-quart sauté pan, fry the onion and fennel in butter. Stir
     in the potatoes, carrots, clam juice, milk, salt, pepper and
     thyme. Cook on low until the potatoes and carrots are soft.

2.  Carefully stir in the cod, then simmer until the fish is opaque
     and flakes easily with a fork. Stir in the cream and heat
     thoroughly. Turn off the heat as soon as the chowder is
     well heated.

3.  Serve in individual bowls garnished with a tiny fennel frond.

     Hint: This chowder is best on the first day it is made. It is
     best if you freeze the leftovers.

     Makes 4 servings


Seasoned with Love
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