Atlanta may be a land-locked city, but The Optimist brings beautiful, sustainable, fresh seafood to town from all over the country. Chef and owner Ford Fry shared this recipe for a lush smoked white fish chowder that manages to be both elegant and comforting, and comes together in just about 30 minutes, so you can enjoy it any time you get a craving. Use any smoked white fish you find at the market, preferably local.

Serve with Homemade Herb CrackersParker House Rolls, or oyster crackers.

And if you’re not in the mood for fish, try our Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta, and Scallions recipe, or our Mushroom and Wild Rice Chowder recipe.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 25 min

Ingredients (9)

  • 1 cup bacon, diced
  • 2 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 quarts half and half
  • 2 quarts heavy cream
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups smoked white fish
  • kosher salt, to taste


  1. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or small stock pot over medium-high heat and cook bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy.
  2. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and sweat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
  3. Deglaze the pot with the wine and simmer for a minute or two, until the alcohol is cooked out.
  4. Add the heavy cream and half and half, and bring to a gentle boil.
  5. Add the smoked fish, gently breaking it up into pieces with a wooden spoon, and allow to heat through for a minute, then remove pot from heat and check seasoning. Add salt to taste if needed, and serve.