Fish soup for winter dinners
An aromatic, briny soup full of Mediterranean flavors.
Fish grilled, fish baked, fish fried… my husband is complaining already. So I said I’d bring meat back to the table. Then I saw frozen pink tuna on sale at the supermarket. I looked at the package and imagined rich, aromatic fish soup with red peppers and cilantro and chunks of vegetables – and a little spill of olive oil in each bowl … oh dear.
Well, I guess I can fry him a couple of hamburgers.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, and more at serving time
- 2 pounds deboned fish. Use any combination of large, firm pieces and smaller, more delicate fish
- 1 medium onion
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1 large tomato (I had a handful of cherry tomatoes and no other plans for them, so I halved them and chucked them in)
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 large carrot
- 1 fresh, tender leek
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 pinch dried or 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or 4 turns of the pepper grinder
- 1 large handful chopped parsley or cilantro
- Optional: One other vegetable. Squash, fresh mushrooms, or green beans are good: about 1 cup of any
- Tip: Kids like this soup blended, with some whole corn kernels in it
Peel and chop all the vegetables into chunks. Reserve the bell pepper chunks.
Sauté the vegetables, except for the bell pepper, in the olive oil. While you’re stirring, add the thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
Cover the pan and let the vegetables steam for 10 minutes.
Add water to cover, and bring to a low boil.
Add the saffron. Simmer the vegetable stock for another 15 minutes.
Add the fish. If using two or more kinds of fish, add the firmer pieces now. Maintain a low boil and cook the soup 15 minutes longer.
Add any smaller or more delicate pieces of fish. Add the chopped red pepper. The reason for adding it at this point is that it will maintain its bright color and make the soup attractive. Lower the flame and cook the soup a further 10 minutes.
Add the chopped parsley or cilantro, stir well, and turn the flame off.
Add a little splash of olive oil to each bowl. Serve with plenty of hot garlic bread.