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Monday, July 18, 2011

Zuppa Di Pesce (Italian Fish Soup)

 Picture yourself  perched among the cliffs above the Mediterranean
 eating a tasty soup made from some succulent fish that came out of the very sea you are looking out at...........Zuppa Di Pesce --Soup of Fish-- tastes, smells, and feels like the Amalfi Coast! Okay, forgive me for my Ruth Reichl moment.......That being said this Italian fish Soup is actually a really great way to use lesser quality fish or frozen fish fillets. What I like to do is buy fresh fish and cook half for dinner right away and then freeze the other half for this soup later on. Some Italian Fish Soup recipes call for a mixture of fish but my version has so much flavor built in layers that it requires only 1 but if you like a mixture the chart below allows other types of seafood to be added into the recipe.
~The breathtakingly beautiful Amalfi Coast~
2-3 pounds Fish/Seafood: Here is where the recipe is quite flexible you need about 2-3 pounds of fish and/or seafood of your choice fresh or frozen! I usually just use fish fillets (whiting, tilapia)  since my daughter has a shell fish allergy but if you want a combo see the cooking time chart below.
olive oil
2 cups tomato puree
1 teaspoon sea salt
11/2 cups white wine
4 cups water
1 medium onion
1 celery rib
2 bay leaves
1/2 bunch parsley leaves chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves minced
1 pinch saffron
8 pieces hearty bread cut into thick slices along w/ olive oil and 2-3 whole garlic cloves
Cut your fish or seafood into 1 inch cubes set aside in fridge for just before serving.
Heat (medium heat) enough olive oil to really coat the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot which has a lid (Dutch Oven)
Add saffron and cover allowing it to release it's color into the oil but make sure it does not burn.
Mince onion, celery, and garlic very fine by hand, add this to the saffron/oil along with the salt.
Cook until very very soft but not brown. I do this by covering for a few minutes to allow it to sweat.
Add wine and allow it cook until reduced by half.
Add tomatoes, water, red pepper, bay leaves and taste for salt adding more if needed.
Bring to a simmer,cover and cook for 20 minutes at a low simmer.
Meanwhile make the bruschetta: Lay slices of Italian Bread on a pan and broil until toasty on both sides, leave the door open and watch it can burn quickly. Rub the garlic clove over one side allowing it to get in the bread (1 clove does about 4) Brush on olive oil and add a sprinkling of salt for each slice. Place a single bruschetta in each bowl and set aside.

Just before serving add the seafood/fish to the soup, you do this in the order of how long they each need to cook so:
Cooking Time Chart
Clams will open when done (discard any that do not open), about 6 minutes
Fish cooks until it's opaque white, about 5 minutes.
Shrimp cooks until pink, about 3 minutes.
Scallops cook until opaque white, about 2-3 minutes
Mussels will open when done (discard those that don't), about 2 minutes.

After the fish is cooked remove the bay leaves (choking hazard) and add the parsley, serve right away in the bowls over the about some good Zuppa Di Pesce!!!

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