30 March 2012

From the Chef ~ Zuppa di Pesce, Fish Soup, Ciuppin, Cioppino!

When you hit the internet or your recipe book collection, you’ll find many versions of fish soup out there.  As you might guess, there’s a lot of latitude in this recipe.  Here’s my version, which falls more toward the cioppino end of the spectrum.  In truth, it’s just what I happened to throw into the pot during a recent preparation.  But don’t let my casual comments undersell you:  this batch was worth formalizing.  I used homemade fish stock, in this case, stock from both black cod and sockeye salmon trimmings.  I pulled the fresh herbs from my garden.  And the garlic toast is “the cherry on top”, or in this case, “the cherry on bottom”, and a worthy addition.

1. In a deep pot, sauté the following in 5-6 tbsp. olive oil until translucent:  1-2 ribs celery; 5 cloves minced garlic; 1 small bulb fennel coarsely chopped.
2. Add the following and bring to a simmer:  2 bay leaf; 1 tsp. each kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes; 2 cups dry white wine; 5 cups fish stock; 1  32-oz. can tomatoes plus 1/2 of tomato juice in the can.  Simmer for 10-15 min. while you prepare for the next addition.
3. Now add an assortment of 3-4 pounds of fish and seafood.  For instance, I first added 1 lb. each of clams and mussels.  After 4-5 min., I added fish that cook more quickly:  1/2 lb. of prawns and about a 1 lb. rock cod.
4. Once all fish is just cooked, stir in a tablespoon each of finely chopped celery greens, fennel tops, & fresh thyme.
5. Rub stale or toasted bread with a clove of garlic and place in the bottom of a bowl.  Ladle cioppino on top and enjoy with lots of napkins and a bowl for the shells! 

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