Orange, fennel, leek and shrimp make this tangy soup a satisfying winter lunch or dinner.
This soup is served as a main course following an appetizer or in small portions before a main dish. The advangtage of this soup is that it can be prepared in advance, without the fish, and frozen. Before serving, just gently poach your favourite fish in the soup.
1 tbsp crushed fennel seeds
1 tbsp grated orange rind
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lb. firm-fleshed fish (such as monkfish, halibut, cod or tilapia) cut in large chunks
1 large or 2 medium fennel bulbs, minced
1 large onion, minced
1 leek, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups fish stock, clam juice or chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine, or Noilly Prat or other dry vermouth (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 or 3 strips orange rind
2 pinches of saffron
Shrimp, scallops or other shellfish (optional)
Step 1: In a bowl, mix 1 tsp of the fennel seeds, the grated orange rind and 1 tbsp of oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Coat fish with this seasoning and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Step 2: In a large soup pot, heat remaining oil over medium heat and fry minced fennel, onion and leek, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Step 3: Add fish stock, wine (if using), tomatoes, remaining fennel seeds, orange rinds trips and saffron. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered, for 15 minutes.
Step 4: Add fish, and shrimp (if using), and poach for a few minutes (times depend on types of fish and shellfish used, so stagger the time when you add them to the pot) until flesh is opaque and cooked through.
Step 5: Serve soup steaming hot, with one of the following garnishes if desired:
Place a slice of toasted bread rubbed with garlic in bottom of soup bowl and ladle serving of soup over top. Drizzle with olive oil.
Garnish with gremolata (a mixture of grated lemon rind, chopped fresh parsley and minced garlic).
Reprinted with permission from Josée di Stasio's Pasta Et Cetera A La Di Stasio (2009 Transcontinental).