Melissa Kelly's Bread and Fish Soup
This soup is a true comfort food. Its clean and fresh flavor is satisfying and hearty, but healthy, too. I served it to Anthony Bourdain when he came to Rockland for his show No Reservations. It’s often on the menu at Primo.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 large leek, dice the white part and roughly chop the greens
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato purée
- 2 cups white wine (Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc are suggested)
- 1½ quarts fish stock (can substitute vegetable stock or water)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pound fish (white fish, bass, halibut and/or snapper—you can use just one type of fish, or a mixture of what you have) cut into 1-inch cubes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- torn-up pieces of crusty bread
- fresh oregano or parsley, chopped (optional)
In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and leek greens (not the white part), and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 3 more minutes. Add the saffron, crushing with the tips of your fingers, then add the bay leaves and crushed red pepper flakes, and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and tomato purée and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine, stir well, and cook until all the liquid is reduced by half.
Add the fish stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Cool slightly, and strain stock through a mesh strainer. Meanwhile, in another large soup pot, heat the butter and add the leek whites. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the cubed fish and the strained broth. Bring to a boil. Swirl 4 heaping tablespoons of rouille (recipe follows) into the hot soup, and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
To serve, place pieces of crusty bread in a serving bowl. Ladle the soup over the bread. Garnish with fresh chopped oregano or parsley.
Serves 4 to 6.
From Cooking Down East by Marjorie Standish