This soup can be made with a variety of different types of fish and seafood. I picked the ones that were caught locally and that I liked. Today’s soup had scallops, fluke and john dory.
John dory has a silky texture and a delicate silver skin; fluke cooks very quickly and flakes easily; scallops add sweetness and brininess to the broth. All three of these ingredients cook at relatively the same rate, which is important.
The technique would be the same regardless of what varieties of seafood you were using. Saute the aromatics and potatoes, then add wine, then broth and pureed tomatoes. Let the broth simmer for about 8 minutes (or until potatoes are cooked through). Then add the seafood and simmer for another 6 minutes or so.
This dish is deeply rich and satisfying but relatively light, making it the perfect meal to eat during the holidays, when everything is over-the-top rich. It’s also very quick to prepare (it takes no more time than boiling pasta). All that is necessary as an accompaniment is some fresh hot crostini, drizzled with olive oil.
As a side dish, we had kale, sauteed with leeks and bacon (there had to be a little bacon in the meal!).
Zuppa di Pesce
serves 4 with leftovers
3/4 lb john dory fillets, sliced into bite-size pieces (could be halibut or cod)
3/4 lb fluke fillets, sliced into bite-size pieces (could be snapper or striped bass)
1 lb sea scallops (could be shrimp or lobster)
2 small shallots, finely diced
1 leek, white part only, split, cleaned and sliced into 1/4″ half-moons
2 stalks celery, including some leaves, diced into 1/4″ half-moons
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
2 large yukon gold potatoes
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 c fresh chopped parsley
1/4 c olive oil
3/4 c white wine
3 c chicken broth (bouillon is fine)
2 c pureed tomatoes (either fresh or canned)
salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, place oil, shallots, leeks, potatoes, bay leaves, and oregano. Turn heat to high and saute for about 8 minutes, or until the mixture begins to turn golden.
Add wine and reduce for a minute. Add tomato, broth, and simmer for about 6 minutes, or until potatoes are just cooked through. Taste and add salt and pepper.
Add fish and seafood and cover. Turn heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes. Uncover and simmer for another minute, or until all is cooked through, then sprinkle with parsley.
Serve immediately in heated bowls with freshly toasted bread drizzled with olive oil.