Sunday, January 22, 2012

Soup for the Shivering Soul

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.

Dear Soup:
I love you. Sorry I cannot let you be. Thank-you for bringing me to Rome.

Green Soup

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

Heat oil on medium high. Add onions and stir until light brown (3-4 minutes). Reduce heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of water and cover. Reduce heat to low. About every 30 seconds, stir onions until the pot has cooled down. Then let it steam/caramelize for 25-30 minutes - stirring occasionally. Add the cup of water, 2 cups of broth and rice. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

If you wish, trim the thick ribs in the middle of the chard leaves. Coarsely chop chard and kale and add to pot. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add remaining broth, cayenne pepper and spinach. Simmer for five minutes. Add the squirt of lemon. Taste. Adjust seasonings. Wait 5-10 minutes and then puree. Serve.

"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!


Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Very nicely done. I just made zuppa de pesci, wasn't sure if it was Cioppino so close but not as thick. I love it over the bread. Seems to sop up the juices and hits the right spot... This one will diffinitely soothe me 100%~!

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

I am so salivating over this! And the green soup, too. Now, I know I'd never find squid. I'm headed to Florida tomorrow and although I may not have as strong a desire for warm soup there(with bread, not crackers) I know I'll find fresh seafood and I can talk my daughter into eating this in one night. Your dieting husband sounds like a hoot!

Sudha said...

Sounds like you are fighting a hard chill,Claudia!The seafood soup looks so comforting and just perfect to snuggle down with on a chilly day like this!At our place, we prefer chicken soup more than anything else but the seafood soup would surely be a delight with all those delicious clams,mussels and shrimps going in:)Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe and stay warm!

Marina said...

I got chills only from reading how cold it is out there... Oh, that fish soup is sooo good. And the plate with olive rim is all Italy...

mike @the culinary lens said...

I love your photo from Rome (one of my favorite places). And that is one of my favorite seafood stews

Torviewtoronto said...

I like the seafood combination and the healthy soup looks wonderful

Gina Stanley said...

Please don't sell the first born, I do love halibut though. I'm ready for soup this week, we finally got the rain, so it's time to hole up inside and enjoy a big bowl of soup. So glad your make-believe is still going strong. Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Balvinder said...

The green soup looks delicious. I don't know about adding crackers to the soup but what ever soup I make my daughter does eat crackers with it.

Kathy said...

We love soup in our house but I've never made any thing like your Roman style fish soup....It is incredible looking! And your green soup sounds delicious. Great soups to warm you during the cold spell.

chow and chatter said...

lovely soup he he looked up Torrone like a nougat looks great

Jill Colonna said...

Your fish soup is so adorable - no wonder you're in love! Love it, too, Claudia. As for the crackers with the lawn soup (hehee), that does sound like diet food indeed. Bon courage to hubby!

FOODESSA said...

Making different variations of Cioppino over the years...I always dig and slurp right in. LOL
Claudia...Your dish looks incredibly tempting.
Soup is always a comforting or not.
Love the green soup variation you shared with us today as well. How soothingly healthy ;o)

Flavourful wishes,

Kristen said...

Oddly enough, although I am about 40 minutes from the ocean, I have yet to find a fresh seafood market here in Jacksonville. I wonder if it's because according to some websites, Atlantic fish is all toxic? Either way, I love your soups. They both sound delicious. The green soup is new to me.

Joanne said...

Soup is the only way I can stay warm also. These two versions sound super delicious! I love how veggie-full they are!

Anne said...

Delicious soup to warm the body on those cold days in Minnesota! Great idea!
Sending you warmth from my neck of the woods!

Barbara said...

Florida doesn't always translate to warm soup, but all that seafood is definitely for me! Beautiful soup, Claudia!

Aarthi said...

Awesome Recipe...Thanks for posting it dear..


Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

Soup is the best winter food! Wish I could have some right now!!

Erica said...

I am enjoying my soups this winter and yours looks comforting, filling and delicious, Claudia!

TinaRBK said...

Both of these soups look pretty amazing, but I will have to say I do envy you on the first one with all the fresh seafood! Soup at least once a week is a great idea-especially if they are soups such as these. Delicious post!

Achu's Amma's Kitchen said...

both of ur soups looks awesome..


I read this post yesterday and I thought i would give it a try today. .. which i did (i added pasta to it though.. just a small portion) and look who's smiling and satisfied right now... moi! I loved it.
thank you for my lunch inspiration today Claudia!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Maybe when the kids all move out, I can make this soup without hearing moans and groans. It looks fabulous...with all that gorgeous seafood! My hubby does the cracker thing, too...but his idea of dieting is not eating Oreos before bed :/

Cucina49 said...

Consider this bookmarked, Claudia. We all need a little Italy to get us through these cold days. I'm intrigued by the green soup, too.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I want to be in Rome - and I want a bowl of that fish soup. Can I have both at the same time?

Magic of Spice said...

Your fish soup is gorgeous and looks so warming even through the screen :) And the green soup sounds pretty good as well...nice flavors!

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, Oh, my dear I am on this journey with you! A beautiful soup. I would love to dip a nice piece of crusty bread in the broth. Blessings, Catherine xo

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Your zuppa di pesci has my mouth watering, Claudia! I could live on it as shellfish and shrimp and fish are my favorite foods.

Your green soup souunds so healthy!

Angie's Recipes said...

I would love to trade all my tomato soup with one small bowl of this gorgeous seafood soup!
Green is good time I will add some chard to my spinach soup too.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

Now that is some seafood, soup porn! Gorgeous soup, I can imagine myself slurping it up too.

Juliana said...

Oh Claudia, this soup look awesome, love all the seafood in it...great for this cold days that we are experiencing. By the way, the green soup looks so pretty.
Hope you are having a fantastic week :-)

Reeni said...

We are kindred soup lovers, you and I. This is some gorgeous bowl of soup! And the 'green' one too! Putting 'lots of greens' down on my shopping list this week.

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I love seafood and I made bouillabaisse before and it's our family's favorite. This one also looks very similar and green soup sounds very unique. I want to try this!

Jeanette said...

I haven't made a seafood soup in a while - will have to do that, I think my kids would love it. I would also like to try your green soup, so light and healthy!

Sandra said...

Oh it's that cold over!
Your soup look will warm your soul! Nicely done dear and have a wonderful day! Stay Warm!!

Lou said...

Such great recipes for winter! Thanks for sharing!

icedgurl said...

trekking your yummy blog!!! burp!


icedgurl said...

trekking your yummy blog!!! burp!


Anonymous said...

The seafood is just gorgeous, looks incredibly fresh and delicious! Love the green soup too!

Katerina said...

It is freezing outside and they predict a snowfall tomorrow here. So, there is nothing better than this seafood soup you made. I feel warm only by looking at it! Rome is a city I haven't visited yet and it is in my must do list!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful soup! It looks really gorgeous.



Mary Bergfeld said...

I love love love you for sharing this soup with us. I adore fish stews and chowders and like the spin different countries put on their versions.I've seen this recipe but never given it a try. Your photos pulled the trip wire. This will soon be on my table.I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Hutchinsons said...

The woes of Colorado life - seafood is expensive! So, I get to enjoy it through your pics.

The green soup looks fabulous. I juice a lot, and this looks right up my alley!

Frank said...

I'm a great lover of soups, too! Especially fish soups. I like that yours is not too tomato-y, letting the flavors of the fish come through!

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

Oh gosh Claudia, so many thoughts about this post. First I can't even imagine how good this soup is, but my shellfish allergy prevents me from ever knowing (sigh!). Next, it would be heaven in my house if I ever had a husband on a diet; I'm married to a skinny, can-eat-anything-and-never-gain-a-pound husband….it's a curse for one who loves to eat and gains weight by looking at it! Third: I love the photo of Rome and I'm still dreaming of it! Lastly, I'm thinking that the soup is good for detoxing, but please correct me if I'm wrong!
Phew, that's about it for this lengthy comment!