In Vancouver we basically have two seasons: wet and dry. Now that we’re heading into the wet season, I find myself craving comfort foods: hearty stews, creamy casseroles, and satisfying soups. My comfort food craving combined with my want to cook more seafood at home led me to a Batali recipe for zuppa di pesce, or fish soup.
I’m not really too familiar with cooking Italian food, aside from pastas, so it was fun to make something tasty, Italian and not pasta. I was a bit liberal with the substitutions for the seafood, but I think the soup turned out just the way it was supposed to: tenderly cooked seafood in a rich, spicy tomato soup.
I’d say the most time consuming part of this recipe was cooking Batali’s basic tomato sauce, which took about 30 minutes. However, if I had the sauce sitting in the fridge, I’d say this is a easy meal to throw together. Aromatics are sauteed in olive oil, tomato sauce, tomatoes and wine are brought to a boil, then the seafood is thrown in to cook. Toast some slices of bread and dinner’s on the table.
Or, if you’re anything like me and Mike, dinner’s served on the coffee table while continuous episodes of Mad Men play on the TV. Let’s just say, I love TV dinners!
Zuppa di Pesce Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com
serves 2, generously
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 rib of celery, finely chopped
1 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 a onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
1 cup dry white wine
1 tomato, chopped
1 tilapia filet
4 head-on shrimp
4 large scallops
1 lb clams
Slices of country bread
1 clove garlic
Italian parsley, finely chopped
fresh marjoram, leaves only
In a large casserole, heat the olive oil over moderate heat.
Add the celery, garlic, onion, and pepper flakes and cook until translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, wine and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the fish, and shellfish, cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce the heat to a simmer until the shellfish have opened, 5 to 6 minutes.
Toast the bread and, while still hot, rub with the garlic. Ladle the seafood and soup into bowls and top with parsley and marjoram leaves. Enjoy immediately.
Batali’s Basic Tomato Sauce adapted from foodnetwork.com
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
2 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 carrot, finely shredded
1 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Salt, to taste
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal.