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Friday, February 17, 2012

Golden Swai and Clam Chowder

This delicate soup combines buttery Yukon gold potatoes with white wine, swai fillets and clams plus just a pinch of saffron to add a beautiful yellow-orange color and a bit of unique flavor.  The Yukon gold potatoes work very well in soups because they do not crumble when cooked.  For another great soup using these tasty potatoes, try Golden Potato Soup with Spicy Shrimp.

If you cannot find swai fillets in your market, this soup would also work nicely with tilapia or even catfish. 

Saffron is a wonderful spice with a unique flavor.  It is commonly used in paella and can be purchased in very small containers in most grocery stores.  The reasons for the small packaging is 1) a little bit goes a very long way when using saffron and 2) it's a little pricey.  Don't let the price scare you away from trying this delicate spice.  The real flavor of saffron is released when the spice is steeped in liquid, such as soup or broth and by adding saffron early in the cooking process, you will get the full color of the spice to disperse into your dish.  Give it a try. It is a wonderful spice to experiment with.

8 oz  Thick Cut Bacon, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup  Chopped Onion
3/4 tsp  Dried Thyme
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  White Pepper
2 10-oz cans Minced Clams, drained and juices reserved
6 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick round slices
2 bottles  Clam Juice
1 cup  White Wine
1/4 tsp  Saffron Threads, crushed in fine powder
1 1/2 lbs  Swai Fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup  Half and Half
1 cup  Milk

In a large soup pot over medium heat, brown bacon pieces until slightly crisp, about 10 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Set aside.

To the pot add onion, thyme, salt and white pepper.  Saute onion until tender, about 8 minutes.  Add the juice from the canned clams, the 2 bottles of clam juice, white wine, saffron and the potatoes to the pot.  Stir and bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, about 8  minutes. (**The Yukon gold potatoes hold together very well in this soup and will finish cooking in the next step.)

Gently lay the pieces of swai on top of the soup, pushing the fish into the broth, but do not stir.  (The fish will poach on top of the soup so you want the fillets to have some broth on top of them.)  Cover the pot and let simmer for 5 minutes. 

Remove the cover and add the clams, half and half and milk to the soup and stir gently to combine. Cover again and heat for 5 minutes longer. Taste the broth and adjust the amount of salt and pepper, if needed.  Serve in soup bowls with a sprinkle of bacon on top.  Makes about 6 servings.


  1. Your chowder sounds so good and the saffron gives it such a lovely color.

  2. I love to experiment with saffron. It has such a delicate flavor, but a bold color. Thanks for visiting!


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