Just when you think the frigid weather is behind us, mother nature shakes her head and delivers a polar vortex. Usually the polar vortex stays in the Arctic but this year it’s paying Canada and the United States a visit…a very cold one! Here in the Maritimes, we’re not going to be as hard hit as the Prairies, Ontario and Quebec but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be cold. YIKES! Bring on the soup! Seafood soup is easy to make and the aromas from your kitchen will make you think you’re at an upscale restaurant.
adapted from Lucy Waverman
1 onion, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup white wine
3 cups fish or seafood stock
400g can cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
16 mussels or clams
12 oz. (375 g) firm white fish such as catfish, grouper, cod, halibut, swordfish (cut into even chunks)
4 large scallops
8 large shrimp, peeled
2 squid tubes (cleaned), cut in rings
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and fennel and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant. Stir in parsley and fennel seeds. Pour in ½ cup wine and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then add stock and tomatoes. Add dried chili. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste, and if need be, season with salt and pepper.
2. While the soup base is simmering, in another pot over medium-high heat, add mussels and wine. Cover and steam until mussels open, about 3 minutes. Strain broth into soup and reserve mussels.
3. Add fish, scallops and shrimp to soup. Simmer gently until fish is cooked (about 5 minutes). Stir in squid and let it cook for 2 minutes or until opaque. Add mussels to reheat. Serve immediately and top with chopped parsley.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: A warming and hearty meal that’s dinner-table ready in 30 minutes! Serve with bread to help mop up the juices. Enjoy!