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WHITE FISH SOUP

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Zuppa di Pesce Bianca
Puglia
Preparation - Difficult
Serves 6

A fish soup that does not call for tomatoes! This one is a good deal more refined than most Pugliese fish soups, a dish you'd be more likely to find in upscale restaurants than in home kitchens or humble fishermen's trattorie. Spice it up, if you wish, by adding a little dried hot red chile peperoncino, either whole or in flakes.In the course of testing this recipe, I discovered by accident something that would probably shock my Pugliese friends deeply: This tart soup is delicious cold and deeply refreshing during the dog days of summer.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 1/4 pounds boneless, firm-textured white fish (cod, hake, haddock, halibut)
  • sea salt
  • 4 cups Fish Broth
  • 1/3 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 small bay leaves
  • 2 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon, very thinly sliced - at least 6 slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 small sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • best quality extra virgin olive oil
OO Large, heavy pot with cover.

METHOD:
  1. Prepare the fish by cutting into 2-inch pieces. Set on a cake rack and sprinkle lightly with the sea salt. Leave for at least 10 minutes, no more than 30 minutes, in order to firm up the texture.
  2. Bring the fish broth to a very gentle simmer in a stockpot over low heat.
  3. Add minced parsley, bay leaves, vinegar, lemon slices, garlic, and peppercorns. Cover the pot and simmer and infuse for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the fish pieces to the pot and continue simmering very gently until the fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaves.
  6. Serve immediately, making sure that each plate has, in addition to the fish and broth, a slice of lemon, a few black peppercorns, and a small bay leaf. Float a parsley sprig on the top of each serving and pass a cruet of fine olive oil for garnishing.

Source:
Flavors of Puglia
Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Broadway Books

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