Whether you’re born and raised here or have called this beautiful stretch of the central Oregon coast home for a while, there are many obvious things that set us apart from the rest of the state. Of course our picturesque landscape, fresh salty sea air, abundance of fresh seafood and wildlife are just a few of the incredible wonders of the Oregon coast, but then there’s the elephant in the room so to speak, and that’s “beach time.” If you’ve tried to book various appointments of one kind or another, you probably know exactly what I’m referring to.

When I first moved here from the valley, there was one coastal trait that had me utterly perplexed, and that is what I refer to as beach time. When setting up different appointments for services, there were many times that no one showed up at all, especially on nice days. Coming from the valley, that wasn’t really anything I had ever experienced, so I just couldn’t quite understand what would cause such a noticeable difference here at the coast. Well, fast forward two years, and now that I consider myself a full-blown coastie, I totally get it!

Whether a fisherman or forager, beachcomber or rock hunter, surfer or kayaker, hiker or wanderer of the 101 Oregon Coast Trail, no matter what our favorite coastal hobbies are, we are all at the mercy of the sun and the sea — when the clouds part and the tide is in our favor, we flock to the great outdoors.

And that is exactly what my family and I did this past weekend! The sun was shining and the tide was high, so my husband and I took the day off, loaded the kids into the crab boat and spent the afternoon out on the water. We came home with sun-kissed cheeks and a basket full of Dungeness crab that I used to top this warm and hearty salmon chowder made from a beautiful Chinook that I caught on one of our many fishing trips this past summer. Living on beach time is what creates incredible meals like this. So the next time your service provider reschedules or possibly doesn’t show up at all, they might just be making the most of this Oregon coast life.

Salmon Chowder with Kielbasa & Dungeness Crab

Ingredients:

• 2 pounds salmon, cut into bite-size chunks

• 2 cups picked Dungeness crab meat for topping chowder (optional)

• 1 (14-ounce) package kielbasa sausage, sliced into rounds

• 1 pound red potatoes, cubed or sliced into bite-size pieces

• 2 cups frozen corn or fresh corn

• 1 yellow onion, chopped

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 quart chicken stock

• 3 cups heavy cream

• 1 1/2 teaspoons Johnny’s Seasoning Salt

• 1/4 teaspoon Johnny’s Pepper

• 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

• 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

• 1 bay leaf

• Chives for garnish

Directions:

• Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook just until almost tender but not fully cooked. Drain well and set aside.

• In a large stockpot on medium heat, add butter and onion and sauté until onion is soft. Add kielbasa and continue to sauté until kielbasa has browned a little, then add corn and garlic and continue to sauté for another minute.

• Add chicken stock to your stockpot along with salmon, basil, thyme, Johnny’s Seasoning Salt, Johnny’s Pepper and bay leaf and bring to a low boil until salmon is cooked through (approximately 5 minutes).

• Turn heat down to low, add heavy cream and potatoes and gently simmer for another 30-45 minutes, allowing potatoes to soften. Be sure to not let the cream come to a boil.

• Serve topped with Dungeness crab and chives. Enjoy!

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