It’s no secret that I clear my schedule each Sunday to make soup. I am a creature of extreme habit and I love a good routine. Sunday soup making not only helps me get through the cold weather of winter, it also provides leftovers for Monday. Wins, all around! And really, it’s a great way to wind down the weekend and ignore for just a bit longer the pending to do list waiting in the office Monday morning. Cooking a good meal, having a glass (or two) of wine, and listening to Christmas music is a very effective form of meditation and relaxation – at least for me.
Although I could eat kale and white bean soup or my Momma’s pasta e fagioli every single day and even more easily every single Sunday, I know the other person in the household would go crazy. So I’ve got to switch it up from time to time. This weekend I was craving seafood – I really wish that I could cook seafood more often and as mentioned previously I am working on stepping up my game. This seafood soup is so simple and basic but is also so full of flavor! And heat! I’d love to make a bouillabaisse one day (I need to practice making rouille and substantially increase the seafood budget), so this is my first baby step in the right direction. Now that I think about it, I suppose this recipe resembles a cioppino – I just need to add in clams or mussels.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, diced (fronds saved for garnish)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small shallot, diced
½ cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano Tomatoes with liquid
32 ounces seafood stock
Juice of half of a lemon
8 ounces medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
10 to 12 ounces fresh cod (leave fillets whole, no prep needed here)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives (for garnish)
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Old Bay
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in large pot over medium high heat. Sauté the fennel and shallot until it begins to soften – about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in the white wine and let it reduce, stirring often. At this point I like to add in the turmeric and a bit of salt and pepper. Next, add in the tomatoes, their liquid, stock, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for at least a half an hour. As it simmers, season the soup to your liking. I like to add a bit of Old Bay, but a combination of smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and freshly ground black pepper will do the trick.
When you’re getting hungry and want to serve, throw the cod and shrimp into the pot. Let the seafood simmer for about 3-5 minutes. The cod fillets will begin to naturally break apart into smaller pieces and the shrimp will become pink. Let the soup sit, covered, for another 3-5 minutes, then stir in the parsley and orange zest. Spoon the soup into large bowls and garnish with fennel fronds and chives. And of course, sprinkle on more red pepper flakes if you like the heat! Serve with a baguette and a side mixed green salad.