I spent father’s day with my dad.
Regular readers will know that is just about impossible since he died of cancer four years ago, but today I was with him anyway.
I kind of dropped the ball this father’s day as far as The Husband is concerned. We’ve been so busy with end of year activities, soccer, exams, work, medical appointments, guests and gearing up for the big trip that I just haven’t been able to give it my usual over-the-top treatment. The boys went out to buy their gift yesterday, an unheard of delay in our household, and I didn’t really have anything ready.
I had no plans and no ideas. The only thing I did know was that I would make a special supper just for Daddy. This usually involves seafood, meaning the kids get pizza while we eat the good stuff (all three of them are not what I would call adventurous eaters), and this year I settled on mussel chowder. We had a bunch of mussels frozen from our last mussel feed and The Husband loves chowder.
When searching for a recipe I turned to my father’s seafood cookbook. It is a collection of recipes he had collected from around the world for years. Compiling them into a book was his big project in the final months of his life. He didn’t quite finish it… but I did as a tribute after his death.
It’s funny. Despite having put so much time and energy into the book, I rarely use it. I guess I haven’t been ready until now. Reading the book was like spending an hour with my dad. The book is divided into sections that, not only contain hundreds of recipes each, but also contains detailed information of buying, storing and cooking various kinds of shellfish.
The hour I passed using my father’s cookbook was like spending an hour in the kitchen with him. He was a gourmet chef, an adventurous eater with an wealth of knowledge about all kinds of foods and a generous host. A meal at my father’s table was a pleasure and an education. I learned something new about mussels while cooking tonight (which I didn’t think was possible since I have picked, cooked and eaten them since I was a child), I had fun and I produced a really great supper. I felt my dad in the kitchen with me.
In fact, I had so much fun reading the recipes, the resulting chowder was a hybrid of two or three recipes and a few of my father’s helpful tips.
For the first time in four years I don’t feed sad as Father’s Day comes to a close. I feel like a reclaimed a piece of my past. The Husband was thrilled to find his gift of a new Mussel Chowder recipe and I got to spend an hour with my dad.
It was a good day.
If you are a mussel lover… try my new Father’s Day Mussel Chowder.
4 to 5 pounds mussels (frozen or freshly steamed and shucked)
1 large fillet of cod
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 potatoes, diced
2 Tbsp flour
1 14oz can of creamed corn
1/2 cup of white wine
1 1/2 Tbsp mild curry paste (or powder)
Pepper (to taste)
Poach the cod in four or five cups of water. Set cod aside and reserve stock for later.
In a large pot or dutch oven heat butter and oil. Add onions and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the potatoes. Toss them into the onions and fats until they are coated. Add the flour and stir until it is evenly distributed. Add the reserved stock and wine.
Cook until the potatoes are soft. Add the creamed corn, curry paste and pepper. Cook five minutes more. Add mussels and fish. Simmer until seafood is heated through.
Serve with bread.
**note: there is no salt listed in the ingredient list. Since the sodium levels in most canned corn is quite high, avoid adding extra salt.