Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spicy Fish Soup

Over the years, I've likely posted several variations on this recipe, but I think it's one well-worth sharing. Why? Because: 1) it's so simple; 2) it's so good; 3) it can be altered to your whim.

Put a cup of chopped onion and a sliced bulb of fennel into a soup pot with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until veggies are wilted and maybe beginning to brown slightly. If you like garlic, stir in a couple of cloves, minced, now. Add a 15oz can of chopped tomatoes and their juices and two bottles of clam juice + 2 clam juice bottles of water. Or a bottle of clam juice and a fish bouillon cube (Knorr makes these) + water. Or, if you want to go vegetarian, about 4 cups of your favorite veggie stock/bouillon. If you have leftover tomato paste/Thai red curry paste etc., add about a tablespoon of that here, but if you don't have it, no worries. (I scraped out the last of a jar of Maesri chilli paste with basil leaves.) Squeeze in a bit of Sriracha, turn the heat up, and bring the soup to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for at least 30 minutes so the flavors meld.

Meanwhile, prepare your seafood: shell and devein shrimp; check your crabmeat for shells; cut your fish into thumb-sized pieces. Taste the soup - if it seems flavorful enough, add your seafood. Turn up the heat and cook until the fish or shrimp just turn opaque. (Crabmeat only needs warming.) If you're going the vegetarian route, small cubes of extra-firm tofu would not be out of place here, but you could also add more vegetables, like corn, okra, or greens. Taste the soup again and fine-tune the flavors with salt and pepper, more Sriracha, a bit of lemon juice, a dribble of agave syrup or honey.

Serve soup with crusty bread. Yum.

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