Monday, April 04, 2005

Recipe: Mediterranean Style Seafood Soup

It's been way too long! But again, lot's of repeat meals recently. But for something different, give this one a try . . .

This dish is named Mediterranean Style Seafood Soup primarily because it's got some tomatoes in it and because it was first created the day after some Spanish rice experiments - not because it uses any inherently Mediterranean ingredients. In fact, the seafood all came out of my freezer!

See, even though we live in New England, and have a wondrous selection of fresh local seafood available almost all year, sometimes you end up with extra. A guest cancels at the last minute; an emergency takes you out of the house; the newcomer to the table turns out to be allergic to seafood . . .

For one reason or another, you've got some fresh fish that you can't use. So into the freezer it goes.

Well, a month or four later, you're sick to death of chicken and pork, and looking for something different, and there it is, as you rummage through the depths of the freezer - that leftover hunk of haddock or salmon or cod or whatever. Well, into the soup pot with it! Marvelous things can happen . . .

here's what you'll need . . .

fish, whatever's at hand; mix and match if you wish; this is a hearty soup, so 1/8 to ¼ lb. per serving will be plenty.
shrimp - you do always keep a bag in the freezer for emergencies . . .Toss in two or three per serving
scallops - but only leftovers - fresh should never be boiled!
vegetables - carrots, celery, peppers of any and every color, zucchini, summer squash, green beans, wax beans, almost anything will work, though strong flavors like broccoli, asparagus, turnip and such will very quickly dominate the soup.
tomatoes - a can or three, and add in those scummy fresh ones that aren't quite garbage, but certainly can't be put in a salad
potatoes - about ½ potato per serving
onions - about ½ for two servings and 1/8 per serving thereafter
garlic - 2 cloves for two servings, about ½ per serving thereafter
noodles - a small handful for two servings, wide egg noodles, spaghetti, ziti, penne, whatever is on hand - you just want a few floating around.
rice - a Tbsp. or two for two servings, ½ tsp. per serving thereafter - like the noodles, you just want a little bit floating around
stock - fish if you've got it (check out your local Asian market for dried Bonita flake fish stock starters!), or chicken or vegetable stock, or if all else fails use water and some chicken bullion cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tabasco or other 'controllable' hot sauce, and/or a few slices of 'pickled' jalapeno
black olives

Mediterranean Seafood Soup Ingredients

Here's how you do it.

Cut the fish into spoon-bite sized pieces - and remember, when you eat this soup, you'll want to get more than just a piece of fish in your spoon! But also remember, if you're using flounder or sole or some other more delicate fish, you can't cut the pieces too small or they will simply dissolve.

Take a similar attitude toward all the vegetables and the potatoes; make them spoon size pieces that will let you get a piece of fish, a piece of shrimp, a noodle, a vegetable, a potato and a tomato all on your spoon!! Ahhhh, what a mouthfull. But you get the idea.

Put it all in a soup pot. Bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes to 20 hours, and serve.

Mediterranean Seafood Soup in a pot

Or . . . Take some time with it. Sauté each of the veggies in some olive oil for a minute or two, starting with the onion, then peppers, then squashes, then etc. When each of the flavors has had a chance to build on what came before, then add in the tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes.

Mediterranean Seafood Soup becoming

And don’t hesitate to use up the odds and ends in your pantry. I have no idea where this pasta came from, but it sure looked like the right size for some soup!

Use up old stuff

So, toss it in, along with the rice and potatoes (in this case, some old boiled ones that were in the freezer!). And again, let it simmer for a while. If you’re a ‘taster,’ now’s a good time to check for seasonings – need some more Tellicherry? How about salt? Got enough ‘zip’ from the Tabasco and/or jalapenos? Maybe add the juice from half a lemon (or even a lime, if that’s what you’ve got!) Make any adjustments and then toss in the fish.

Now give it the ’20 minutes to 20 hours’ barely there simmer and serve it up. Goes great with warm tortilla chips, and maybe some fresh tomato slices with Bleu cheese dressing or . . .

Mediterranean Seafood Soup served

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