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Milky fish chowder

(Jonathan Levitt for The Boston Globe)
July 13, 2011

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Serves 4

2 pounds skinless, boneless cod, hake, haddock, or cusk
3 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 medium red potatoes, cut into bite-size wedges
3 cups whole milk
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
2 cups chowder crackers, crushed (for serving)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up

1. In a soup pot, combine the fish, water, and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and let the liquid bubble gently for 7 minutes or until the flesh turns opaque and flakes easily with a fork. With a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a plate. Keep the broth in the pot.

2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, render the bacon until it begins to release some of its fat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and the onion softens.

3. Add the bacon mixture to the broth with the potatoes. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

4. With a fork, flake the fish into large pieces. Add the fish and milk to the potato mixture. Return to a simmer. Add pepper and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, if you like. When the chowder is hot, remove it from the heat, and let the flavors steep for 5 minutes.

5. Ladle into bowls, top with chives, crushed crackers, and a piece of butter. Jonathan Levitt