It's no secret that soup and I have had a fulfilling relationship since childhood. Soup never gets ornery and soup is always there for me - and how do I reward soup? I slurp it up. I annihilate it. It is a one-sided relationship. But the glory of soup - is I can create it again and again. I let my mind wander to the land of make-believe (this play-acting in my mind of imagined conversations and new places to wander is still going strong in my middle-age). Grandma loved playing make-a-believe with me and as the soup was simmering, I was making-a-believing myself all the way to Rome.
The arctic blast hit Minnesota last week. My remedy? Italian music and Roman-Style Fish Soup. Reminiscent of a cioppino, this wine-based, spicy broth does indeed warm the shivering soul.
Zuppa di Pesce alla Romana - adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Italy
(Roman-style fish soup from Lazio)
*This tastes best when all is fresh
**The book uses fresh squid which I could not get - if you can get it - by all means, chop it and saute it in the warm oil until opaque
2 garlic cloves
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
2 tomatoes, peeled and seeded (I didn't peel)
2 tablespoon fresh, chopped Italian parsley
pinch of salt
2 cups water
1 pound small clams
1/2 pound mussels - scrubbed and debearded
1/2 pound shelled, deveined fresh shrimp
1 pound assorted white fish (monkfish, turbot, bream, red snapper, sea bass cut into chunks).
*The only fresh whitefish I could get a hold of was tilapia so I used that but it fell apart as you can see in the photos. Halibut would be good but I'd have to sell my first born to afford it. And that's frowned upon here (selling your first born not eating halibut).
In a large saucepan (I used a stockpot) over medium heat, saute the garlic and pepper flakes in the olive oil until the garlic is golden - about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the garlic. Add the wine and simmer for 1 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley and salt and simmer about ten minutes - let it reduce but not disappear. This will be the base of your broth.
Add the water and bring to a simmer. Add the clams and mussels and simmer about five minutes. Add the tilapia (or other whitefish) and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the shrimp and simmer 1-2 minutes until the shrimp is cooked. Taste the broth and adjust seasonings.
You can lay a piece of bread in the bowls and spoon the soup over it. I am not fond of soggy bread so I perch it on the bowl. A nice touch would be warming the bowls. I seldom do that - but it is loving and gracious.
I love you. Sorry I cannot let you be. Thank-you for bringing me to Rome.
For the last two weeks I have been making the green soup I noted on my blog a week or so ago. I have tweaked it to use one bowl and more greens. It's a veritable lawn soup - and I love seeing all that green. Don't think of it as a diet soup - my 5'11" willowy daughter scrounges for this just as she does for chocolate. The original link is here:
My version is below:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped (don't go nuts - you're going to puree it)
2 tablespoons water plus 1 cup water
2 cups plus 4 cups vegetable broth divided (can use chicken broth unless you want it vegan)
1/4 cup arborio rice (gives it a little heft)
1 large bunch Swiss Chard
1 large bunch kale
2 bunches of spinach or one bagged spinach - remove stems if you wish. (I do.)
Big pinch of cayenne pepper
Juice from 1/4 lemon
"There is no natural light these days. Winter won this round. But in my home, all is sunny and cozy.
I make soup at least once a week. I bookmark and scour the web. Soup is such a cornucopia of flavors and textures - no wonder I have it for breakfast, It fortifies me for the day. Other January soups I have made and savored are:
Proud Italian Cook's Kale, Chicken and Squash Soup. Easy, brothy, multi flavors and textures.
Ciao Chow Linda's Ribollita and Vegetable Soup It's a delicious way to visit Tuscany.
Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice Sausage Lasagna Soup - not low-cal but worth every calorie. If you are out and about in winter - you need this in your life.
Husband dieting adventures continue. He does like this soup - only he adds about 6 crackers to it - is that a Midwest thing? Everyone here adds crackers to their soups. Some "lose it" website has given my normally sane, keen, sharp husband a calorie total - which he swears by. As a former professional dieter, I have told him again and again that he is maintaining his weight. (And he is by George, hasn't lost or gained a pound.) But the website doesn't lie! (Is there a short play in this - "The Day Hell froze Over and the Husband Went on a Diet"). Now how can an intelligent engineer be so duped by a website? Maybe he plays make-believe differently than I do.
If you have a favorite (broth-based) soup recipe, send it over. We don't expect winter to end until Mid-May!