WHITE FISH SOUP
Zuppa di Pesce Bianca
Preparation - Difficult
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.
Large, heavy pot with cover.
- 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
- 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.
- Bring the fish broth to a very gentle simmer in a stockpot over low heat.
- Add minced parsley, bay leaves, vinegar, lemon slices, garlic, and peppercorns. Cover the pot and simmer and infuse for about 10 minutes.
- Add the fish pieces to the pot and continue simmering very gently until the fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- 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.
Flavors of Puglia
Nancy Harmon Jenkins