Tender, tasty heirloom fingerling potatoes such as Earthbound Farm’s organic French Fingerling, Russian Banana or Ruby Crescents make a great base for chowder because they’re flavorful and waxy enough to retain their shape in the soup.
Here we’ve combined leeks and potatoes, a classic pairing, and added smoked salmon for a touch of elegance. Finished with a sprinkling of chives, this chowder makes a terrific first course for a special dinner.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the leeks and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the potatoes, stock and cream, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add 3/4 of the salmon to the pot and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season the chowder with salt and pepper, as desired. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Divide the chowder among bowls. Top each serving with some of the remaining salmon, sprinkle with chives, and serve immediately.