Matt’s Tasty ‘Tog Chowder

This Thanksgiving, why not forgo the traditional turkey and serve something more in keeping with New England maritime tradition? I’m talking chowder, more specifically tautog chowder.

Also known as blackfish, these tasty bottom fish have a firm, white meat that’s ideal for chowders. Here’s a recipe for tautog chowder, courtesy of Buzzards Bay angler Matt Nugent, that’s guaranteed to take the chill off a fall day on the water. Enjoy!

Cooking Directions

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups fish stock or water
  • 6 potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1-2 lbs. fish
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 4 strips bacon
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • light cream

To taste:

  • tarragon
  • black pepper
  • white pepper
  • dill
  • thyme

Directions:

  • If you don’t have fish stock, parboil the ‘tog in 6-8 cups of water for 5 minutes and remove. Add potatoes to the stock and simmer for 30 minutes or until soft.
  • While the potatoes are simmering, add olive oil and butter to a large skillet. Heat the skillet, then add onions and bay leaves, stirring often. Do not burn the bay leaves. When the onions are transparent, remove some of them from the water and set aside. Cook remaining onions until brown, being careful not to burn them.
  • In the same skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and crumble.
  • Add onions, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, bacon and flaked fish to the potatoes and season to taste.
  • Cover and simmer for one hour.
  • Reduce heat and add light cream to taste. Be sure you are not at a boil, as this will curdle the cream.

Taste test and serve with warm French bread for dipping.