The flavor of this salmon chowder recipe is greatly enhanced by adding either fresh dill or dried tarragon: each herb lends its own distinctive flavor to the soup. To give this soup a thick, chowder texture, we use instant mashed potatoes, which eliminates the need for heavy cream or butter. Leftover mashed potatoes work too, but give a slightly less-velvety texture.
Wild-caught salmon from the Pacific (Alaska and Washington) are more sustainably fished and have a larger, more stable population. For more information, visit Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch (mbayaq.org/cr/seafoodwatch.asp).
To skin a salmon fillet, place on a clean cutting board, skin side down. Starting at the tail end, slip the blade of a long, sharp knife between the fish flesh and the skin, holding the skin down firmly with your other hand. Gently push the blade along at a 30° angle, separating the fillet from the skin without cutting through either.
Instant mashed potato flakes is not a product that we typically use in our recipes, but we love how it gives creamy texture to soup without adding extra fat. Look for a brand that has the fewest ingredients possible (and therefore little to no artificial additives or flavoring). At our local market, the store brand was the best choice.
1 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat