A Canada-Mexico Fusion Recipe: Seafood Chowder (Crema de Mariscos)

Click here to go to printable recipe: Fusion Seafood Chowder  

As mentioned in my previous post, this recipe was initially inspired by the seafood chowder that my husband and our older daughter enjoyed at the Black Sheep Restaurant, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, an iconic dish in the region, as shown below:

200-black-sheep-seafood-chowder

From the restaurant’s menu description, the seafood in their chowder included shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, cod and trout.   

Since I am allergic to some shellfish, more specifically crustaceans, such as lobster, crab and shrimp, I could not partake of the feast; even before our flight back home to Ontario, I wanted to create a version I could eat (result shown at the top of the post).  I have used vegan shrimp in other posts, and I had some leftover in the freezer, so I was all set with that substitution:

A can of baby clams was good for this recipe, already cooked and with some yummy juice for the broth.  At the supermarket, I found already-cooked, fresh mussels from Prince Edward Island (photo below, left), so I thought it would be a nice touch to use an ingredient directly from the Maritimes.  After re-heating for three minutes, I had a nice batch of cooked mussels (photo below, right):

This particular product was prepared with butter and garlic, which are typical ingredients in chowder, so it worked fine, but plain cooked mussels may be used in this recipe.  Although I should not be allergic to scallops, I generally stay away from them since scallops are so often processed right next to shrimp, but they may be included, and some Nova Scotia style seafood chowder recipes I found online also call for lobster or crab meat (I omitted, due to my allergies).  Finally, in terms of fish, any white fish filets will work, the most often used being haddock or cod; I found sustainably wild-caught frozen pollock.

I love clam chowder, but I figured the traditional Nova Scotia seafood chowder would be more than just adding more seafood to regular chowder.  I found out that the most traditional recipes use evaporated milk instead of cream, and decorate the plates with herbs, such as parsley or chives.  In addition to potatoes, a few include other roots, such as carrots.  

I also searched for any Mexican recipes that could be incorporated into my creation.  Although there are numerous versions of traditional seafood soup (sopa de mariscos), they are all made with clear broth.  I did find two under the category of “seafood cream” (crema de mariscos), which are more contemporary, using heavy cream as thickener; one was a smooth cream, with all the cooked seafood processed in the blender, and Eureka! the other one had chunky seafood, and even potatoes.  The Mexican twist, which I thought would be very flavourful, was the addition of a sauce of sautéed veggies including, of course, a tomato, for a blushed tone. 

For my fusion recipe, then, I decided to use parsley and evaporated milk, Nova Scotia style, and also cream and the sauteed veggie sauce, contemporary Mexico style. 

From my garden, I still had garlic from my summer crop, and one of the last ripen tomatoes (the rest are all green!); there was still plenty of parsley in the ground and, instead of potatoes and as a homage to the beautiful dahlia exhibition I saw in the Halifax Public Gardens, I harvested some dahlia tubers, which are a very Mexican edible:

A Canada-Mexico Fusion Recipe:  Seafood Chowder –

Una receta fusión de Canadá y México: Crema de mariscos 

Printable recipe: Fusion Seafood Chowder

Ingredients (for 4-6 portions)

1 lb (454 g) fish filets, such as cod, haddock or pollock; fresh or thawed from frozen
1 lb (454 g) cooked mussels in the shell
1 can (142 g) whole baby clams
½ lb (227 g) shrimp; peeled and cleaned OR vegan shrimp
¼ white onion; peeled
1 tomato; washed, stem spot removed, and sliced into wedges
2 stalks celery; washed and ends removed
1 clove garlic; peeled and halved
½ lb (225 g) potatoes (baby or fingerling) OR dahlia tubers; washed and peeled
1 can (354 ml) evaporated milk
1 cup heavy cream, such as whipping or table
Water, as needed
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 bay leaves
1 small bunch parsley; washed
Salt and white ground pepper, to taste

Reserve outer layer of onion, then coarsely slice the rest, along with one celery stalk.  In a frying pan over medium heat, warm up oil and butter, until butter melts completely; add sliced onions and celery, and sauté for three minutes, stirring occasionally (photo below, left).  Add garlic and tomatoes, and continue cooking and stirring for another five minutes (photo below, right): 

Reduce heat to low, cover pan with lid, and allow to simmer for another ten minutes.  Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to cool down.

Reserve one sprig of parsley, then remove and discard stems from the rest, chop leaves, and reserve.

Bring a large pot with water to boil over high heat; add bay leaves, second celery stalk, reserved sprig of parsley, and reserved onion layer, then add fish, shrimp and roots (photo below, left, with dahlia tubers).  Reduce heat to medium, and cook fish until it becomes flaky and opaque, and shrimp until they turn pink (or get warm, for vegan), then carefully remove onto a plate using a slotted spoon (photo below, right):

Continue cooking roots until tender but still firm, about five more minutes.  Turn off the heat and remove roots from pot; cut into small cubes and reserve.  Slice fish into bite-sized pieces and reserve; keep 4-6 shrimp whole, then chop the rest and reserve.  Remove and discard bay leaves, parsley, celery and onion from the pot, transfer broth to a container and allow to cool down.

Open can of clams, and reserve clams with chopped shrimp and cubed roots.  Pour clam juice into a large measuring cup; top to two cups using reserved broth (freeze leftover broth for another use.)  Pour into a blender jar; add reserved sauteed vegetables, along with any liquid or oil left in the frying pan (photo below, left).  Blend until smooth (photo below, right):

Add evaporated milk and cream to the blender jar (photo below, left); process again until uniform (photo below, right):

Pour into the same (emptied) large pot, over medium heat (photo below, left); cook slowly and stir, until it starts to steam, making sure that does not boil.  Add reserved clams, cubed roots and chopped shrimp (photo below, right):

Season with salt and white pepper, to taste, stirring and adjusting with more, as needed.  Once everything is nice and hot, prepare soup bowls with some fish pieces, cooked mussels in the shell, and one whole shrimp, and ladle creamy broth, including portions of chopped shrimp, cubed roots and clams:  

Decorate with chopped parsley leaves and serve immediately with crusty bread on the side:

I liked the seasoning in this chowder very much, as well as the pretty blushed colour from the added sauteed veggies; the simple substitution of seafood allowed me to grovel to my heart’s content, eating as much as I wanted without fear of allergic reactions.  My husband really enjoyed his Nova Scotia seafood chowder in Halifax, but said that he liked my version better, even with the vegan shrimp.  Our younger daughter, who is a vegetarian, made an exception and tried a portion, which she served, a la San Francisco, California, in a bowl carved from our homemade sourdough bread:


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I am bringing my recipe to Full Plate Thursday #612 with Miz Helen @ Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.


I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #564, with Bev @ Eclectic Red BarnPam @ An Artful MomKatherine @ Katherine’s CornerAmber @ Follow the Yellow Brick HomeTheresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.


I am joining Fiesta Friday # 456 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday.


I am also sharing my recipe at What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up #391 with Helen @ The Lazy Gastronome.   

10 thoughts on “A Canada-Mexico Fusion Recipe: Seafood Chowder (Crema de Mariscos)

    1. Oh, thank you so much for your feedback, I also prefer the words/pics format when I am reviewing recipes. I hope you enjoy this chowder, it was truly delicious… warning: clam chowder will never be the same after this, heehee.

      Liked by 1 person

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