Friday, April 22, 2011

Seafood and Saffron Tomato Fennel Soup

4.17.11 : 107/365

Let me introduce you to a tried and true favorite in this house.

I came across this recipe in an unusual way. Somehow several years ago an edition of Canadian home & country (October 2007 Ed.) made it's way into my office along with a bunch of other magazines. One quiet lunch hour I was flipping through the home & country and stumbled on this recipe for Seafood and Saffron Tomato Fennel Soup and decided to give it a try. Listen to me carefully, this soup is incredible. Did you get that? A.mazing!!

You should make it immediately, I'll get you the recipe;

Serves 6

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup finely diced fennel
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 48 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 cups water
1 cup white wine, divided
Large pinch saffron
1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
2.5 lbs. fresh mussels in the shell
1 lb peeled large shrimp
1 lb fresh halibut, cut into large pieces
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 tbsp finely chopped chives

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, fennel, celery and onion and saute  for 5 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with their water, 4 cups water, 1/2 cup white wine, saffron, thyme and kosher salt. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, steam the mussels in the remaining 1/2 cup wine in a large skillet just until they open. Allow to cool slightly and then remove the mussels from the shells and strain the liquid. During the last five minutes of cooking, add the mussels and the steaming liquid, shrimp and fish to the tomato saffron broth. Stir in the orange zest. Serve soup with dollops of saffron aioli (recipe follows), sprinkles of chopped chives and baguette crisps.

Full disclosure: I have never included the orange zest or chives, only include saffron if I have it on hand and only periodically make the aioli. The aioli is delicious though, so I highly recommend that you try it but the soup is good with or without. Since you must try it at least once, I'm including the recipe below.

Makes 2 cups

1 egg
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Large pinch saffron
1 tsp kosher salt
1.5 cups vegetable oil

Place egg, Dijon, lemon juice, garlic, saffron and salt in the bowl of a food processor and mix together. With the machine still running, slowly drizzle in the oil, allowing the mixture to emulsify. Add dollops to soup.
Enjoy! (What am I saying? You will.)

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