|Chris digging for cherry stones in Nausett Bay, Cape Cod.
He had a unique method for clamming!
Chris loved life and lived large. He was boisterous, vibrant, charming and a whole lot of fun. When Chris entered a room…the party began! Chris’s quick wit and ability to weave a story was engaging. His gruff exterior belied a deep warmth and gentleness within. He was a fisherman, excellent cook, and loved to entertain. We shared many a dinner where the meal often did not appear before midnight. First, he’d have to catch the fish we were eating that night; then clean it, and finally begin preparing the feast…and it was always a feast with Chris. Lobsters often figured big as Chris was a lobsterman as well as a fisherman. For his mother-in-law’s (and my mom-in-law, too!) 75th birthday party he surprised Helen with her favorite food by presenting her with 36 lobsters for all the Rabbitt’s gathered for her celebration.
|Helen Rabbitt (in the yellow coat) looking pleased
and surprised on her 75th birthday!
Whatever Chris cooked, he made with a flare–whether it was lightly fried clams, sublime bouillibaisse, grilled sea bass or scallops done many different ways–it was always yummy. The food served at the reception for his ‘send-off’ was appropriately delicious! His good friend Tim (of Tim and Bonnie food fame) came in with a steaming cauldron of fish chowder. This truly was the best fish chowder I have ever eaten so I asked if he would share his secret recipe. I was surprised by the ingredients, but excited to try it myself. I sratched the ingredients on a napkin, thanked Tim profusely and made the chowder the next day.
BEST (AND EASIEST) FISH CHOWDER
Tim pointed out that this recipe can be doubled, tripled or in the case of Chris’s funeral reception he made 10 times this amount–just keep the ingredients proportionate. He did not offer measurements on the Old Bay or white pepper. I used about 1 tsp. of pepper and 2 tsp. of Old Bay. I think next time I would add a little bit more Old Bay and possibly a touch of salt.
|This thick cut of Cod is called Captain’s cut. Skin has been removed.
Melt 1/2 stick butter in soup pot. Dice 1/2 onion and add to the pot. Gently carmelize for about 15-20 minutes covered until onion is sweet and soft. Add the spices (note there is no salt although I did use salted butter), one 15 1/2 oz. can diced potatoes (slightly drained), 1 can of water from potato can, 15 1/2 oz.can cream style corn, can of evaporated milk and about 2 tsp. of the chicken stock paste (I used Better than Bouillon). Gently cook all ingredients for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Bring to a boil and add the entire piece of cod (uncut). Cover and turn off the heat. Do not open the soup pot until it has cooled. By this time your fish will be cooked perfectly. I made this a day ahead of time and reheated. Give the chowder a stir as you reheat and the cod will just flake apart into nice big chunks.
Thanks for sharing your Fish Chowder Tim and please let me know if I forgot anything!
DECEMBER 13, 1961 – MAY 7, 2014
Thank you Chris, for bringing such joy to all you touched.