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Salmon Chowder (“Cullen Skink”)

Provided by Mel & Sheryl London

Called “Cullen Skink” in Scotland, this chowder, chock full of fish and scallops relies on its smoky flavor from smoked whitefish rather than bacon, which is typical of our New England chowders. It’s also a fine alternative for your vegetarian friends.

Salmon Chowder


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium onion)
  • 2 cups peeled Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces (about 1 pound)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 cup skinned & diced tomatoes (about 2 large) or drained, canned crushed plum tomatoes
  • 4 ounces smoked whitefish, boned, skinned and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 12 ounces firm white-fleshed fish, such as monkfish, Chilean sea bass or tilefish, cut into ¾ inch chunks
  • 6 ounces large sea scallops, cut into quarters
  • Salt and lots of pepper to taste
  • 1/8 – ¼ tablespoon Tabasco (optional to taste)
  • 4 teaspoons finely mined parsley


Melt the butter in a heavy five quart pot over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook, covered, until wilted and tender, but not brown – about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, thyme and wine. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the wine is almost all absorbed.

With a potato masher, crush the potatoes coarsely in the pot. Add the milk, stirring slowly, and bring to a simmer, about 5 minutes. Keep the heat low to prevent curdling and simmer gently for 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, smoked fish and firm fleshed fish. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste.

Serve hot, sprinkled with 1 teaspoon of parsley over each portion.

Serves 4


MEL & SHERYL LONDON are the authors of eleven cookbooks, including “A Seafood Celebration” and “The Fish Lovers” Cookbook.” They are winners of the James Beard Award and the Tastemaker Award and were finalists for the IACP Cookbook Award for “The Gourmet Garage Cookbook.” They have been loyal and loving customers of The Lobster Place since the company first opened its doors in Chelsea Market.