Seafood Chowder

Gramercy Tavern Restaurant Recipe

Chowder Base:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small white onion, minced
1/2 leek (white and pale green parts), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
2 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed winter squash, such as kabocha
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised with the side of a chef's knife and halved
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
31/2 cups vegetable broth or water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 pound mussels, cleaned

1 cup diced winter squash, such as kabocha
1 cup diced potatoes
8 baby turnips, peeled and quartered
8 baby radishes, halved
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and halved
1/2 pound skinless black sea bass fillet, cut into small chunks
1 ají dulce or other small red pepper, cored, seeded, halved crosswise, and julienned
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Aleppo pepper, as garnish

Make the chowder base: In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the leek, shallot, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leek is softened, about 6 minutes.

Add the squash, carrot, and curry powder, season with salt, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the lemongrass, bay leaf, coconut milk, and broth, and bring to a simmer. Cook the chowder base until the squash and carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Make the mussels: In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the wine, and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover the pot, and steam them until they just open wide, 3 to 4 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a medium bowl. Remove the mussels from the shells; discard the shells and any mussels that haven't opened. Strain the broth into a small bowl.

Once the squash is tender, discard the lemongrass and bay leaf. Process the chowder base in a blender until very smooth and creamy, then pass through a fine-mesh strainer into a large pot. Bring the chowder base to a simmer, then add the raw diced squash, potatoes, and turnips and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the radishes, shrimp, and sea bass and simmer for about 3 minutes. Stir in the mussels and red pepper. The soup's consistency should be thinner than a traditional chowder—add a splash of the reserved mussel liquid, if needed.

Season with a touch of salt and pepper. Serve the chowder in bowls, topped with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, the red onion, chives, and Aleppo pepper. Serves 6.