Ah! Spring has sprung :) I’m not wrapping myself up in blankets at night and it’s not as much of a struggle to get out of bed in the mornings. Even our
icebox rental house seems to be retaining the daytime warmth so we’re not firing up the heater as much. I hate to say this but this is the first winter I’ve actually been happy to see its end. Dare I say, I am indeed getting older. I even shed a tear at then end of Furious 7 the other day…
With the warmer weather coming, I won’t be doing up too many more soups so I best make the most of the next couple of cool-ish months. Fortunately lighter, less creamy soups are wonderful to enjoy over spring. Of course you can indulge in cold, refreshing Gazpacho in summer too, mind you so no doubt the Thermomix will still be on soup duty.
The other week I finally made a favourite soup of mine. I don’t see it appear in menus in Perth so much but whenever I do spy a serving of either the Italian or French style of seafood soup, you can bet it’s the dish I’ll order. The French classic Bouillabaisse is a somewhat more complicated recipe requiring a roux, but the Italian version of Zuppa di Pesce is easier to make on a whim.
This soup may not appeal to you if you’re not a huge seafood fan but you can always adjust the ingredients to your liking. There’s nothing wrong with a Zuppa di Pesce with just prawns and a few pieces of white fish. However, for those who love every single critter that lurks in the deep blue sea, then you can really go to town with clams, mussels and even octopus.
The key ingredient however is calamari, which surprisingly provides a lot of flavour to the soup. I was also surprised to find that it’s the ingredient that spends the most time in cooking process. The end result is still very tender calamari however so there’s no cause for concern.
As I had an amazing bottle of Stoneleigh Wines‘ Sauvignon Blanc from their Latitude range which I knew would be the perfect lunch match for this soup. As soon as I opened the top, I got such a heavenly bouquet of passionfruit. It really did feel like spring!
To accompany the soup, I made up some chilli and parmesan croutons. The chilli worked very nicely with the fresh Sauv Blanc as well. Saluti!
Zuppa di Pesce
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 rib celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1cups dry white wine
100g calamari/squid rings
6 king prawns
12 clams (I got New Zealand clams in a sealed bag)
2 small fillet of white fish (snapper, barramundi etc.)
1 cup of fish or shellfish stock
1/2 cup of water
Chilli & Parmesan Croutons
6 slices of baguette or similar bread (can be a day old)
Combine: 3 tbsp of grated Parmesan, 1 tsp of flaked red chilli and 1 tsp of chopped parsley
olive oil as needed
To Make: In a large soup or stock post, heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the celery, garlic, onion, and pepper flakes and cook until translucent. Add the can of tomato, tomato paste and wine and heat to a high simmer, allowing the wine to reduce a little. Add calamari and bring to a low simmer, cooking for 15 minutes. Add stock and water and bring to a boil. Add the fish, prawns, scallop and clams and cover pot. Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Clams should be open and the soup thickened.
For croutons, lay bread out on a baking tray and sprinkle the Parmesan mixture over each slice. Place bread under hot grill until cheese is melted.
Serve crouton with soup, either to the side or on top of soup bowl.