Saturday, 28 April 2012

Crab and Fish Soup

Today I went to the Asian market looking for some dinner inspiration. I adore the Asian market because you can go in there to pick up one item and you get carried away into a different world. My intention today was to try to find a nice duck to roast, but I had just come from the hairdresser and I was pretty much loitering in frozen aisle trying to get a good look at my new hairdo in the reflection off the freezer doors. As I stood there mesmerized by the sight of my golden highlights, my neighbour came up to me and the excitement in his face made me think there had been a police chase through the parking lot or something of the like.
In his broken English, he excitedly told me I better get straight over to a certain seafood bin because they had gigantic lobster tails, the likes of which he had never seen. I'm allergic to lobster, but his excitement and the fact that he is native Portuguese and a lobster tail sighting in Canada could excite him, I practically ran to see! Indeed he was right! They were huge! But sitting right next to the lobsters were whole crabs. I used to also be allergic to crab, but for some reason now, I can tolerate a little bit of it. So I picked out a beautiful big crab and some lovely shrimp. So that's dinner tonight. What I am going to do with it is eat it. It's already been cooked and the recipe has already been perfected by God. I don't care to accompany it with garlic butter because I prefer it plain. And God even took the trouble to grow the grapes for my favourite seafood partner and that's a crisp, chilled Petit Chablis. I'm in heaven on earth!
And there will be leftovers for sure, so tomorrow I wish make a fish soup, old style. You will love this if you love fish. Otherwise, pass it up.
You'll need:
2 pounds of any fresh fish you like. I've used salmon, seabass, cod, monkfish. Just don't use sole because it won't hold up.
1/2 pound tiger shrimp with the shell on
olive oil
1 carrot chopped
2 small potatoes peeled and diced
1 onion chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped
4 or 5 nice big red tomatoes. (6 or 7 if you're using Roma tomatoes)
I add a dried red chili pepper from my garden, but you can skip it if you don't like heat
1 cup white wine (I find whatever you're drinking works best)
bunch of cilantro leaves
salt & pepper
2 bay leaves

Dice the fish into 1 inch cubes and boil it in a pot of salted water with the shrimp and bay leaves for about 8 minutes. Use about 2 quarts of water.
In a separate pot, big enough for soup, saute the onion chopped, the garlic finely chopped and the chopped carrot on med low heat for about 7 or 8 minutes. When it softens, add the potatoes and the chopped tomatoes and the wine. Let this simmer on med low for about 25 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.
Going back to your fish pot, turn off the heat But Do Not Drain the Water! after about 8 minutes. Just pull out the shrimp and fish and leave the water because you'll need it. Peel the shrimp and toss the shells back into the water.
Back to veg pot, as the simmering is going along, add a ladle full of the salted fish water too keep it loose. Be sure to keep the shells out! When it's soft, puree it all with an immersion blender or whatever you have to puree. Put it back to the stove on med heat and whisk in a couple more ladlefuls of the fish water until the soup is thin enough to your liking. Add your fish and shrimp into the soup. Bring it up to just before boiling and season with pepper and more salt if you think it needs some. And top with about a tablespoon of the fresh chopped cilantro leaves. This is dinner so just serve it with some fresh bread of your choice.

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