Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Zuppa di Pesce

Zuppa di pesce sounds more appetizing than fish stew, so I'm going to stick with that. I have been wanting to make cioppino for awhile, but it requires fish stock and I don't ever buy whole fish, so I never have fish bones to work with. I suppose I could ask for some at the fish counter, but I saw this tomato-based recipe and went with it instead. This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe, but I changed the quantities to fit a 2-person household. And I used less fish because I added mussels. Click here if you want to see her full recipe.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
1/2 cup white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
about 20 oz. strained Italian tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus extra for garnish
1/2 pound whitefish fillets, halibut, cod or arctic char, skinned and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/2 pound mussels, rinsed and beards removed
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

1 roll of ciabatta or Italian bread
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
1 clove garlic

In a 6-quart, heavy bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven, heat 1/3 cup of oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Season the fish with salt and add to the stew, along with the mussels.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. Season the stew with salt, if needed.

For the Crostini: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until light golden, about 12 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes. Rub the warm toasts with the cut side of the garlic.

Ladle the stew into serving bowls and garnish with parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a few red pepper flakes on top. Serve with the crostini.

SO good. The soup had a great texture - I used Pomi strained tomatoes, although the original recipe called for pureed or crushed tomatoes. The strained tomatoes were perfect. I also kept the same amount of crushed red pepper and garlic as the 4-6 person recipe called for, so it was nice and spicy. But cut down on the those ingredients if you want it to be milder. I wanted to keep it simple and just add mussels, but there's so many ways you could change it up - add clams, shrimp, calamari, fresh basil, potato chunks...whatever sounds good to you. By the way, I used cod.

And for the crostini - the original recipe called for a 1-lb loaf of bread, but one sandwich-sized roll of ciabatta was plenty for two people.


  1. Katherine, I am totally hooked on your blog! I've been secretly reading it and decided I should probably tell you I read it instead of just being a creep about it. You need to make me those tomatoe fritters... I dream about them on a daily basis.

  2. Katherine, This looks wonderful. Really beautiful too. Your blog is fabulous. I'm excited to have found you and will follow you (preferably straight into the kitchen). Hope you come to my blog, it would be an honor. Keri a.k.a. Sam

  3. Sohee, you're so sweet! Thanks for the comment, I'm so glad you like reading! You should definitely try the fritters...they're really easy.

    Sam - thanks for reading, I just checked out your blog and it's great!

  4. this sounds good, too! yummy.

    have you ever made a new england-style clam chowder? tim has been dying to try to make one. i find it intimidating. And it's not so figure-friendly!

  5. Jess, no I have never made New England clam chowder. Peter loves it but has surprisingly never asked me to make it. And, no, it's not figure-friendly...since it's cream-based. I honestly don't know if I would make it just for the two of us because it is a little labor intensive and I would only want a cup of it since it's so rich. But if I were going to make it I would probably use Emeril's recipe, I trust his taste in New England style foods since he's from Fall River!