This week was the beginning of our fabrication series. That’s fancy talk for “butchery”. If like me, you are generally removed from that process, you can imagine how I might have felt walking into class on Tuesday and seeing lots of fishies staring up at me. Am I really going to be able to do this?
I love food. I do. I can’t say I’m one one of those die hard, snout to tail kind of foodies. Although, I did attend a “High on the Hog” presentation a few months ago at ICE where master butcher, Rudy Weid took down a whole pig. I was a little less appalled than I would have thought and actually kind of salivating over several cuts of meat, especially the pork belly (bacon), and pernil (shoulder). Ok. I guess I am more chef-y than I thought.
However, fish is still something that, although I love fresh and whole, I generally ask restaurants to fillet before putting on my plate. Particularly because I don’t like eyeballs staring up at me while I eat. As such, I was a little nervous going into this series. I shouldn’t have been. Once I got started I was fine and yes, I admit, I kind of enjoyed it. Is that weird?
There was something about the freshness of the fish and connection to the food I was going to actually prepare and eat. We are so removed from the way food comes to us these days. It was great to fillet the fish, use the bones to prepare the stock and use the stock to prepare a soup. I knew where everything had been from beginning to end. It was so delicious!
While I’d love to do that every time I make fish soup, I wanted to to see if one prepared at home with stock and fish bought from the store would also be good. I realize you don’t have all day to make these recipes and frankly, I don’t either unless I’m at school. So, I bought seafood stock at the supermarket and asked the fish counter for their freshest, which happened to be cod and I prepared a soup to try out for you. It was amazing! Just as good as the one we made in class. I added some crushed red pepper because I like it spicy but you can easily omit it if you don’t. This is a fantastic, easy and healthy meal for any night. Enjoy!
- ¼ C Olive oil
- ½ leek stem, thin, long slices (julienne)
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ C dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
- ½ 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, ligquid drained (I used San Marzano)
- pinch sugar
- 1 lb cod or other fresh, white fish (we used monkfish in class and it was amazing)
- 1 quart seafood stock, or enough to cover the fish (I used 3 C, Kitchen Basics)
- 1 T tomato paste
- handful of fresh spinach, optional
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs thyme
- ¼ t red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in large sauce pot (I used 5 qt Le Crueset)
- Add onions, fennel and garlic. Sweat for 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Add wine, tomatoes and sugar. Bring to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add fish on top. Add seafood broth to cover the fish.
- Add bay leaf, thyme, red pepper flakes and fresh spinach. Mix in tomato paste and season with fresh ground pepper.
- Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until fish is cooked through (about 10-15 minutes).
- Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
- Serve and enjoy!