SOUPE AU POISSON: Fish Soup

 

Soupe Au Poisson Fish Soup

Fish is one of those special “boughten” foods we don’t get to enjoy often.  With a freezer packed full of home-grown grassfed beef, pastured pork and chicken, it’s hard to justify buying fish.  But fresh fish is just SO good (with emphasis on fresh)!

I’ve gotten some disappointing grocery store fish, so look out for freshness.  I generally buy whole fish, and make broth with the bones and heat (see my Good Ecomony Fish Soup recipe below!).

My favorite place to get fresh fish is Northwest Sea Food in Gainesville.  I’m always impressed by the freshness of their fish and seafood, and the large selection they offer.

This fish soup recipe in La Cuisine had caught my eye the other day.  It was so simple, but it sounded so good.  I translated it for Ethan, and he was convinced enough to stop by the fish store for me and get some fish.  We used a vermilion snapper and three mullet for this recipe.

Before I get down the the recipe, I wanted to make a translator’s note:  French sentence construction is certainly different from English, but R. Blondeau really weaves around the directions with this one…however, I’m still including the original translation so you can see how he (or she!) explains it.  Recipes that tell me things retroactively tend to annoy me, and if you’re the same, scroll down for a more direct version:

SOUPE AU POISSON

500 grams of diverse ocean fish are washed, cut into pieces, and put to lightly brown in a pot that contains hot olive oil which you have already browned a large onion cut into rounds.

Add some water (preferably hot), salt, pepper, a clove, a clove of garlic, and let cook gently until the fish is completely cooked.

Pass through a mortar and pestle, and serve on bread, with a little grated cheese.  You can also cook some vermicelli in the broth.

Soupe Au Poisson Fish Soup

 

Soupe Au Poisson Fish Soup

 

Soupe Au Poisson Fish Soup

 

Soupe Au Poisson Fish Soup

 

Soupe Au Poisson Fish Soup

Fish Soup

About 1 lb fillets of various ocean fish

2 Tablespoons good-quality olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

1 quart hot water

salt and pepper

1 clove

1 clove of garlic, peeled

Gruyère or Romano cheese to grate on top

  1.  Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, and brown the onion slices.  Meanwhile, cut your fish fillets into pieces.
  2. When the onion has browned, add the fish pieces and lightly brown them.
  3. When they are lightly browned, pour in the hot water.  Add the clove and the garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook gently until the fish is completely cooked.
  5. Blend up the fish soup, and serve with grated cheese sprinkled on top and serve with bread.  You can also add vermicelli pasta to the broth at the end, instead of serving with bread.  (It is also good without the cheese and bread, with some cracked black pepper and fresh chopped parsley on top).

 

One thing I really appreciate about Northwest Sea Food is that you can buy fresh, whole fish, and they will scale and fillet it for you.   I always save the heads and carcasses for another soup.  It’s a very cost-effective way to buy fish.  For a little over $10 (including other ingredients other than the fish), we made two delicious soups that made 4 meals for our family of five.  Good economy should taste good, too!

 

Soupe Au Poisson Fish Soup

 

Soupe Au Poisson Fish Soup

Good Economy Fish Soup

For the broth:

The left-overs from a cleaned, whole fish

Water

1/2 of a lemon

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup white wine

1 clove

1 clove of garlic

A pinch of celery seeds

1/2 of an onion

1 bundle of fresh parsley

5 whole peppercorns

And now a simple chowder recipe:

1 onion, sliced

Butter

4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds

2 peeled and diced potatoes

2 stalks of celery

More fresh parsley (optional)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups fish broth

1 cup milk or cream

  1.  Put all the ingredients for the broth into a pot, and simmer it for 6-8 hours.
  2. Strain out all the bones, lemon, peppercorns, bay leaf, clove, etc.
  3. Melt the butter in a soup pot, and add the onion slices to fry until clear.
  4. Add the carrots, potatoes and celery, and cook for a minute or two before pouring your broth over.  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook gently until the vegetables are soft.  Add the milk or cream about 10-15 minutes before serving.

 

{My grandmother, Claudia Meraud, was born in Nice, France.   She immigrated to the US after meeting my grandfather while he was stationed there as a US soldier in WW II.  We spent several summers together, just the two of us, living with her sister in Nice.  She passed along to me an old French cookbook titled  title is La Cuisine:  Guide Practique De La Ménagère by R. Blondeau, Chef de Cuisine.  It originally belonged to my great-grandmother, Lucie Thomas, who was a native of St. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace.

This cookbook was published in the 1930’s, and was written as a practical guide for a household cook before the days of the fridge and the food processor.  The recipes are delicious, practical, and (of course) packed with good traditional nutrition.

I am creating translated versions of these antique recipes, re-written for the modern cook, and tested with home-grown and seasonal food.}

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