It was supposed to get cold, we were supposed to get a bit of snow overnight… I had cod, langostino, and clam broth. I knew I was making a fish chowder, but wasn’t sure if it was going to be a creamy New England-style, or a southern Italian tomato-inspired… I asked Victor what his preference was and he immediately said “tomato.” A recipe was born.

As we were talking, he said that he has seen Ina make a tomato-based chowder the other day and he thought it looked really good. Her secret ingredient was adding some saffron. And there just happened to be some saffron in the cupboard.

The secret to making a soup like this is to cook everything, and then just a few minutes before serving, add the seafood. It’s really easy to overcook – and really easy not to.

Seafood Chowder, Italian-Style

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 pound potatoes, small-dice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 qt clam broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tsp Greek oregano
  • pinch saffron
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper – or to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound firm white fish
  • 6 oz langostino or other shell fish
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Saute onion in a bit of olive oil. When almost done, add minced garlic and cook.

Add red wine and cook until almost evaporated.  Add clam broth, tomatoes in juice, celery, potatoes, and spices, and cook until potatoes are just barely done. Add seafood and cook about 10 more minutes. Stir in parsley.

Check seasonings and add more, as desired.

I made garlic bread to dunk.

It was a pretty easy under-an-hour dinner – and most of the time was letting the potatoes simmer. Active work-time was less than 15 minutes. Plus, there was plenty left over for lunch…

So… we didn’t get the bit of overnight snow and we haven’t gotten all the rain we were supposed to get, today. They’re calling for snow tonight and into tomorrow. Nothing like up Boston-way, but the mere mention of a dusting of snow turns people around here into frazzled maniacs. Of course, when I lived in Boston back in the early ’80s, it had been a city for some 350 years, yet every time it snowed, they acted like it was the first time they had ever seen it…

I wish we were getting their storm…