Friday, February 13, 2015

The Ultimate Home-Made Valentine's Day Dish - Mediterranean Fish Soup

Valentine's Day happens to be tomorrow 
When restaurants laugh to make our pockets hollow
So what do we do to avoid this scam?
Make something great at home? 
Of course you can!

Pardon my lameness to start yet another blogpost with some poetry. Anyway, after at least 3 separate requests for the recipe to my Mediterranean Seafood Soup last night, and considering it's a perfect dish to impress your loved one (as long as he/she is not vegetarian and likes seafood), I shall rush out the cooking instructions with some of my random pictures taken under poor lighting.

No home-made stock on hand, so used some decent store-bought ones

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

  • 8 large shrimp, around 500g
  • 200g of boneless fish fillet, skinned and cubed (picture below, I used wild sea bass)
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 can of chopped Italian tomato (I used chopped as they are skinless and seedless, you could use the full tomatoes as well but remember to remove the seeds if you don't want your soup to be too sour)
  • 200ml of chicken stock
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic (for shrimp stock)
  • 1 large handful of parsley (preferably flat-leaf, but curly ones will do too), finely chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)

Cubed fish fillet
Diced onion

Cooking Procedure:

  1. Shell and devein the shrimp. If you like the heads, leave the heads on, if not, remove the heads and set aside with the shell for the shrimp stock.
  2. Fry 2 cloves of garlic in a small pot till fragrant, add shrimp shells and heads, fry till the entire house smells of hae mee (prawn noodle) then pour in around 2-300ml of water to simmer into a nice shrimp stock.
  3. In a separate soup pot where the whole dish will be put together, sweat the onions in some good olive oil. This will take some time on medium heat, till the onions become sweet but do not take up too much colour.
  4. Deglaze the pot with a cup of white wine and wait for the alcohol to boil away.
  5. Pour in the can of diced tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil, add bay leaves.
  6. At this point add in shrimp stock and chicken stock and bring the soup to a boil again.
  7. Add in fish fillet cubes.
  8. Before adding in the shrimp, make sure you are well prepared with chopsticks or tongs to remove them once cooked and prepare your serving plates/bowls.
  9. Once you are ready, add in the shrimp and remove them immediately onto your serving bowls once they cook through, we do not want overcooked rubbery jumbo shrimp on your Valentine's Day.
  10. Finally, while the soup is still bubbling hot, stir in your parsley and season the soup to your preferred taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve.
My Mediterranean Fish Soup

How can I sign off without leaving you with some important tips?

Number 1, this soup is exceptionally versatile. It can be cooked with any kind of seafood you prefer, so mussels, clams, squid, even crab will work beautifully. Just put in anything you can find. Just keep in mind that the most vital point is that every element needs to be extremely fresh, we don't want to take chances with anything that might spoil the whole pot of soup!

Number 2, this is a main course, not a starter. You eat this together with some nice bread or baked potato to complete a good meal. You need a lot of seafood in the soup (also to make the soup delicious). If the amount makes you feel that it might be slightly excessive, it's perfect.

Number 3, you can add some chopped fresh tomato as well, to spruce up the taste a little, but I still recommend you to use a can of tomatoes as the base, because unless we use those expensive imported tomatoes, it's unlikely the standard ones we find in our markets can provide enough flavour to the soup.

Number 4, Do not overcook the seafood!

Number 5, Enjoy!

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