Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fish Soup

Believe me; this dish is so much better than it sounds. I probably should come up with a better name but figured fish soup is better than fish stew.  In actuality, it is more of a seafood bouillabaisse.  In Italy it could be called cioppino or acqua pazza; acqua pazza is Italian for “crazy water,” which is an aromatic fish broth flavored with white wine, garlic, and tomatoes.  Enough about that, you get the idea…..

This is the recipe I chose for Valentine’s Day per my husband’s request.  It is a recipe I came up with and have tweaked and perfected over the years.  It's a great winter meal.  

We normally don’t go out for Valentine’s Day because I don’t like holidays where the restaurants have a set menu and the place is packed.  Usually the service and the food suffer and it ends up being a less-than-stellar experience and, quite frankly, a waste of money.  (I feel this way about New Year’s Eve too.)  I think these busy, popular holidays are a good excuse to cook at home and make something a little extra special.

Romantic Table Setting

Fish Soup Recipe

  • 1 Leek (chopped)
  • 3 Garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 small Shallot (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
  • 2 bottle of clam juice
  • 1 tsp. Saffron threads
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (pureed in food processor until smooth)
  • ¼ cup Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tbsp. butter (unsalted)
  • 1 lb. mussels
  • 8 shrimp
  • ½ lb. Bay scallops (small scallops)
  • 6 oz. fish (halibut or grouper)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes (depends how much heat you like, but about 1-2 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Cutting the Leeks
Clam Juice
Mincing the Shallots
Minced Garlic - Using my favorite kitchen gadget (mini food processor)
  1. Melt butter in a big pot over medium heat (do not substitute olive oil). Sweat/sauté leeks for about 1 minute, add shallots and sauté for another minute, then add garlic and sauté until soft (don’t let it get golden).
  2. Add the flour. Make sure to cook out the flour until it starts to turn golden (4-6 min.).
  3. Add the wine and reduce for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Add the lemon juice and pureed tomatoes.
  5. Add the saffron, red pepper flakes, and clam juice.
  6. Simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, while the “broth” is still simmering, sauté the shrimp and fish in a pan with olive oil.
  8. Make sure to season the shrimp and fish with salt, pepper, and cayenne. The shrimp will take about 2 minutes on each side and the fish about 5 minutes each side depending on thickness. I add the shrimp and fish to the bowls and set aside (cover with foil) - I don't put them in the broth because I do not want them to get overcooked (the mussels and scallops are more forgiving).  The will warm back up once you pour the hot broth on top.
  9. Cook the mussels in a separate pot (you can use wine, clam juice, or chicken stock). Just put a little bit of liquid in the bottom of a sauce pan, bring to a boil, add the mussels and put the lid on. Stir occasionally. When all of the mussels are open add them to the broth.
  10. Sauté the scallops for 1-2 minutes (they won't be fully cooked but lightly seared) and add to the broth.
  11. Turn the heat up for the broth to  medium-high.  Add the cream and parmesan. Taste the broth before adding salt (the cheese will add a salty flavor).  Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add more cream or red pepper if you feel it is necessary.
  12. Dish into bowls and enjoy!   

Stirring in the flour with the leeks, garlic, and shallots.
Adding the tomatoes and the saffron.
Cooking the fish and scallops
Setting the shrimp aside in the bowl

Sides: I served it with a Bibb lettuce salad and French baguette, which is perfect for dipping in the broth.
Bibb Lettuce Salad
Miko can smell the cheese on the counter.....

Pairings: I like to serve this dish with a creamy, lightly oaked Chardonnay from Burgundy, France or a brut-style Champagne.

Dessert?   Strawberries dipped in Chocolate fondue.   


What is your favorite “romantic” meal to cook or eat?  Talk to me…..

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