restorative, easy, delicious, brightly-flavored. fisherman soup. simple and rustic. a great soup all year long, but especially during the growing season when zucchini, leek and parsley are local and fresh. of course my version has more veg than fish, but that is me. plus des vegetables sums up my food philosophy in three words.
kids and fish. now my kids eat fish, they love salmon terriyaki for example, but are not so crazy about many other fish dishes. but they do love this soup. why? (as if childhood taste buds could ever be predicted or easily explained) i think because it reminds them of the mexican chicken soup with it's light tomato-y broth. with children in general, it is all about the familiar. in any case the official word around here is, kid-approved. it is much much simpler to prepare than a cioppino or bouillabaisse, and can easily be made on a weeknight if you have 45 minutes or so for preparation, a little chopping and a little stirring, a little seasoning, that is all. and the vegetables are sliced nice and thin, so cook week-night quick.
1 large onion, cut in thin slices and then lightly chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 TBSP olive oil
2 and a half quarts chicken or fish stock or water (i use the ubiquitous chicken stock)
28 oz crushed or diced canned tomatoes (fresh would work beautifully but should be peeled and seeded first)
3 carrots, chopped
4 potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced and cut into half moon shapes
1 lb to 2 lb same or assorted fresh fish cut into 1 - 2 inch cubes (monk fish, or sea bass, or halibut, or almost any thick fish will work well)
(i used only 1 lb fish this time, sea bass, kids prefer it with less)
1 lb mussels cleaned and scrubbed (optional, i didn't use them this time, kids again)
bunch of parsley stems tied with string for the broth
3 leeks, sliced
3 zucchini sliced, then sliced in half into half moon shapes
salt and pepper
2 lemons, i sliced to serve as garnish on the table, the other juiced and added to the soup during final tasting/seasoning
1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish
place the onions and celery in a stockpot on high with a bit of olive oil, saute for 2 minutes. add stock, parsley stems tied tightly in a string, and tomatoes and bring to boil. add in the potatoes, carrots. simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. add in the zucchini, leeks and the cubes of fish. simmer 5- 7 minutes more until fish is cooked through. if using, put the cleaned and scrubbed mussels (having discarded any that are cracked or do not shut immediately when tapped) in a skillet over high heat until opened. discard any that do not open. season the soup with salt and pepper. add in the juice from 1 lemon. taste and adjust seasoning. to serve, place the mussels in the bowls, pour the soup over the mussels to fill the bowls. add garnishes of chopped parsley a light sprinkling of sea salt and pepper. place a bowl of lemon wedges and a bowl of chopped parsley on the table as garanishes. of course, if not using the mussels, skip that step and transfer the soup to bowls, then garnish. enjoy with a large loaf of fresh bread and butter, olive oil or marinated goat cheese. love the simplicity of it.