Deciding to cook at home instead of going out for dinner one night, my friend Nima had the most brilliant idea of cooking a Fish Chowder Sandwich he saw on Hulu.com on an episode of Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home starring Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. For those with good memories, Julia and Jacques did this public television cooking show back in 1999 for one 22-episode season. Fortunately, you can watch all the episodes for free on Hulu.
This was also the first time I shot night pictures using regular kitchen lighting with my new iPhone 5. I gotta say, I was impressed on how the new low lighting feature in the camera makes a big difference in the photo quality. I didn't have to do as much photo-editing as I did with the iPhone 4. (This dinner happened back in January.)
Because I have the food allergies to dairy and eggs, and Nima is mindful of being health-conscious, we modified Jacques Fish Chowder Sandwich to accommodate our needs and wow! We practically ate the whole thing because the food turned out so delicious.
The best part of our version of the sandwich is that no one eating it would ever guess that the sandwich was free of dairy, egg, and soy. I know! One cannot fathom a Julia or Jacques recipe with no butter - at least butter made from cow milk.
I included the Hulu video for the Fish Chowder Sandwich. The clip is queued up to our specific sandwich. Jacques and Julia made several sandwiches in this episode. Here is the list of our modified ingredients.
- One (roughly) 10" round loaf of Whole Wheat Pain Au Levain by Acme Bread. This sourdough bread is free of egg, dairy, and soy. We also went with a smaller round versus a long loaf to help cut down on portion size. The round loaf we picked could feed four adults.)
- Tuna, salmon, cod (All wild caught and sustainably raised)
- Earth Balance Soy-free Buttery Spread (The soy-free version of Earth Balance tastes closest to real butter. It's my favorite. Even though Earth Balance uses GMO-free soy in their products, soy adds a flavor that gives it a faux-butter taste IMHO.)
- Hazelnuts (Jacques uses almonds but we didn't have any in the house so we improvised. I thought the hazelnut flavor complimented the fish well. Next time, I'd try Macadamia nuts.)
- White wine
- Oyster mushrooms (Jacques uses wild mushrooms but we went with oyster mushrooms to go with a sea theme.)
- Fresh organic dill
- Sea salt and black pepper
Along with white wine, Jacques also includes Pernod, a French licorice-tasting liquor. We didn't use any because buying a whole bottle of Pernod just for this recipe was too much for us. The Chowder sandwich was wonderful without the Pernod so don't feel like you have to use it. If you want to make the sandwich alcohol-free, About.com has a nice list for alcohol substitutes.
Nima and I really enjoyed this sandwich. I ate some left overs the next day and was still in heaven. Using good fish really does make a difference, and definitely use day-old bread for this recipe. Our loaf was freshly made that day and it was a bit too soft especially for the bread crumb part.
This Fish Chowder Sandwich would be wonderful for a TV-viewing event like Super Bowl or The Oscars, or for a pre-Summer nosh out on the patio with sangria or mojitos. You can also make variations using chicken, turkey, or sausage. I might even try making a vegan version.