Zuppa di Pesce, a soup with clean rich flavors and a deeply rich seafood broth. Fine dining at its best, right in the luxury of your own dining room.
Zuppa di Pesce (Haddock, Shrimp Soup), a luxurious and classy bowl of deliciousness, from the elegant slow stewed broth to the succulent steamed haddock and shrimp. A great dish to have for a fine romantic dinner for two, or an elegant family dinner, either way, a most delightful seafood affair!
Zuppa to me brings back so many childhood memories, especially winter ones. Particularly on Sundays when sauce wasn't simmering on the stove, there was the aroma of mirepoix lingering in the air. I don't know what it is but that trinity of celery, carrots and onions always make me feel warm, comforted, and hungry. Zuppa di Pesce, or fish soup in English, was not a favorite of mine as a child. Maybe the smell of fish and shrimp, or the texture, but I am sure I am not alone amongst many childhoods that were not fond of fish soup. I distinctly remember one memory where my brother and I got into so much trouble for.
It was summer and a hot one, I was in junior high school and my brother Mauro was in high school. My parents had made a fish soup using salted dry cod (baccalà) and a tomato enriched broth. The smell alone was so strong and I knew tonight we are going to bed hungry. In our household, if you didn't eat what was put on the table there was not anything else to be had. Well, we sat at the table Mauro and I, staring at each other, my brother with a look of disgust, not only from the fact that we had to eat this soup, but from having to sit at the table with me, a younger brother, always wanting my big brother to acknowledge me and allow me to hang out with all his friends, but never happened. I was told to keep away. Well on this particular day sitting at the table in the basement, as my parents had two kitchens: one on the main floor, my mothers, and one in the basement my fathers. They argued a lot when cooking together so to preserve their relationship one would cook part of the meal upstairs and one downstairs, surprising one another with their creations. The only time they really worked together was later on in life, when bread making, baking, and pizza dough was on the list. So back to my brother and I, soup poured, spoons in hand and just a bit on the tip of our tongues and that was enough of a taste for us. My brother had a mischievous look in his eyes, and everything went slow mode. He reached for a plastic spoon, and I was thinking what would he want a plastic spoon when there was a regular spoon in his hand, oh no my answer came quickly as he scooped up some soup in that plastic spoon cocked it back and released it in my direction. Before I knew it my face flung back and to the right being hit with multiple splashes and drops of smelly soup. I was not one to just sit and take it so a quick dodge, and I had a plastic spoon too and proceeded to retaliate with multiple successive strikes. It did not end well. The kitchen was a mess, my mother livid and smoking behind the ears. Us, my brother and I, well let's leave that to your imagination. Just think, Italian old school family, food wasted, unnecessary mess made, and a very angry Italian mom with a wooden spoon in hand, lol. All I could think was RUN! but she was good and the rest is history.
Later on in life I began to really enjoy fish and seafood, and today it fills me with smiles and warmth as it brings me back to Italy, which I adore.
Without further ado, I give you Zuppa di Pesce!
This Zuppa di Pesce, is so flavorful and tasty, with a delightful aroma. When I think of this dish it reminds me of fine dining. The best part is it is so easy to make. We purchased the fish from a new local market known as Loblaw City Market, located in the brewery district of Edmonton. I love this store and it has a great fish market with great employees, willing to go that extra mile to get you what you want. The shrimp I purchased from T&T, a great Asian market to shop at.
The start of any great soup is the base. A combination of carrots, onions, and celery sauteed beautifully, with added flavor from some sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and bay leaves. What I love about bay leaf is it intensifies flavors of soups and stews. It has that deep aromatic quality to it, and a great infuser for the fish and shrimp. I peeled and cleaned the shrimp, and added the shell and head to the simmering mirepoix. In goes some water and fish stock bouillon, and all that is needed is some time to let it flavor up. The haddock I seared very quickly in a hot pan and finished it in the steaming broth.
I love the elegance and finesse of this dish. The aroma rich in that intensified broth, and hints of bay leaf and smokiness of paprika. The flavors out of this world. The broth rich, clean, with the flavors of the slow steeped shrimp shells and halibut making its mark in a most subtle way. The shrimp that was placed at the end and cooked just with the hot broth, is tender, succulent and full of flavor. The halibut, buttery, robust, with just that slight quick sear to seal all the juices in and the hot broth caressing its flesh with a gentleness, leaving the haddock, rich, moist, flaky, and so full of flavor. Little hints of parsley add a delightful freshness and spice.
If you are looking for a recipe that is luxurious, special and memorable, our Zuppa di Pesce may be just what you are looking for. Treat your family, or special someone, to an extravagant meal.
P.S. If serving to kids, keep plastic spoons locked up, lol.
Song of the day: "Mani nelle Mani" by Michele Zarrillo, an Italian singer. Love this song!Print
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