Harry Belafonte's Fish Chowder
One 4-lb. whole sea bass, cleaned
6 cups water
1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
1/2 lb. salt pork, diced
4 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 clove pressed garlic
1 tsp. ground thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. celery salt
3 cups potatoes, diced
3 onions, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups whole green beans
Boiling salted water
One (28-oz.) can tomatoes, strained
6-8 drops Tabasco (more if desired)
6 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
2-3 tbsps. fresh parsley, minced
Remove head, skin and bones from fish; cut fish in large pieces. Place fish skin and bones in a deep kettle. Add water and celery leaves; simmer 15 minutes and strain. Reserve fish broth. Fry salt pork in a 4-quart kettle until brown; remove cracklings. Add fish broth, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and celery salt; simmer to reduce in volume abut one-third. In separate pot place potatoes, onion, celery and green beans with just enough boiling salted water to cover vegetables. Cook over high heat until vegetables are barely tender. Strain and reserve vegetables.
Place vegetables in stock pot with reduced fish stock. Add tomatoes, Tabasco, mushrooms, fish pieces and fish head. Simmer until fish is done (approximately 10-12 minutes). Taste to correct seasonings. Serve in deep bowls over rice or alone. Garnish with fresh minced parsley. Pass crackers if rice is not used. A crisp green salad makes a nice accompaniment to the chowder. Serves 8.
Thoughts: If desired, butter or margarine may be substituted for salt pork (add at end when all ingredients have been combined). Harry's chowder is delicately flavored, made in the traditional manner of the Caribbeans by not adding flour or milk to chowder.