Recipe by Buster's friend
This recipe from Castagna in Portland, OR, was requested in the LA Times' Culinary SOS column by a fan who described it as "ambrosia". It certainly has all the right stuff. "This striking dish is perfect for summer entertaining, and half of the recipe can be made in advance. The rich fish broth is delicately flavored with leek and fennel, complemented with bright notes from lemon and Pernod, and rounded out with just a hint of chile and tomato for added depth. Serve each bowl with a generous helping of steamed and sautéed fish and shellfish, crostini and creamy anchovy aioli or rouille." Substitute any firm fleshed white ocean fish & vary the shellfish according to your locale & season.
Top Review by threeovens
I liked this soup a lot, especially considering I am not a big seafood eater. I used chicken broth rather than fish broth as we both thought that fish stock would be too strong a flavor. I thought it was clever that the soup is thickened with pureed rice. I especially enjoyed the fish added at the end that was lightly crusted, a very different texture.
- 4 leeks, white parts only, coarsely chopped and washed
- 1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 arbol chile, seeded
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons arborio rice
- 2 quarts fish stock, plus more as needed (broth, vegetable broth fine too)
- salt, to taste
- 1 lemon, juiced (to taste)
Soup and assembly
- 1⁄4 cup shallot, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil, plus
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 24 mussels, de-bearded
- 24 clams
- 1⁄4 cup dry white wine
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 16 prawns, cleaned
- 16 scallops, quartered crosswise
- 1⁄4 cup chives, chopped
- 1 lb cod, cut into 2-inch pieces (monkfish fine too)
- flour (for dredging)
Directions See How It's Made
- Soup base:.
- In a large, heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat, sauté the leeks and fennel in the olive oil until translucent. Stir in the pepper and tomato paste and continue cooking until the tomato paste has darkened in color and thickened slightly, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Stir in the Arborio rice, then the fish stock, scraping any flavoring from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and continue cooking until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Puree the soup base in a blender until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve, discarding any solids. Adjust the seasonings with salt, Pernod and lemon juice to taste. If the base is too thick, add additional fish stock to thin.
- Soup and assembly:.
- In a large frying pan or skillet, sauté the shallots in 2 tablespoons olive oil until translucent. Stir in the mussels and clams, then stir in the white wine.
- Cover the pan and simmer until the clams and mussels open (discard any that will not open). Stir in the soup base, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the prawns and scallops, then bring to a gentle simmer and poach the fish until done (the fish should be just firm and opaque). Stir in the chopped chives.
- Meanwhile, season each piece of cod with a light pinch each of salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the fish in flour. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and add the remaining olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the fish pieces a few at a time and sauté until lightly golden on both sides and the fish is firm and opaque, 2 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Divide the soup between 8 warm bowls and top with the sautéed cod. Serve immediately.