Friday, August 23, 2013

Roasted Tomato Fish Soup

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you can look forward to the following offerings from Sweetwater Farm, Fair Valley Farm, and Tiger Lily Art Company:

heirloom tomatoes, romas, and tomato deals: 10 lbs/$18, $20 lbs/$30 (try this fish soup)
blackberries and cantaloupes (make chocolate blackberry pudding
pepperoncini, poblanos, red hot cherries, anaheim chiles, and assorted pepper bargain bags
eggplants, fresh spring garlic, and onions (make ratatouille)
cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, and kohlrabi (make some Pad Thai)
cutting celery, new potatoes, and beets (make a salad smorgasbord
assorted herbs including Italian parsley and 1 lb bags of basil (make pesto)
kale, chard, and a variety of lettuces including iceberg
bietola (Italian chard/beet green, delicious in salads)
dried beans and grains from Camus Country Mill (pick up some chickpeas for falafel)
jams, salsa, and pickles from Sweet Creek Foods
pastured chickens from Fair Valley Farm (try spatchcocked)
floral arrangements from Tiger Lily Art Company

Any recipe that calls for canned tomatoes can be transform by using fresh roma tomatoes at the peek of summer. For this summer fish soup, prepared in a minimal beach house kitchen with my sister-in-law, we made a intensely tomatoey base by slow roasting romas, garlic, and spicy peppers. With all of the rich flavors of summer, we didn't need any spices other than a sprinkle of salt.

Roasted Tomato Fish Soup
serves 4
3 lb roma tomatoes (~18)
4 cloves garlic
2 medium hot peppers
2 ears corn
2 medium leeks
4 carrots
4 stalks celery
olive oil
8 ounce bottle clam juice
1/4 bottle white wine
1 lb firm white fish such as cod
12 jumbo shrimp
flat leaf parsley, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat a couple of baking dishes with a thin layer of olive oil. Halve and core the tomatoes, rub the cut sides in the olive oil, turn them facing upwards, and sprinkle with salt. Halve and seed the peppers and add them to one of the pans, along with the unpeeled cloves of garlic. Slow roast for about 40 to 50 minutes, until the tomatoes are completely softened and collapsed. Let the vegetables cool enough to handle. Peel the garlic cloves and mince them, along with the peppers. If you like, you can easily slip off the tomato skins, or keep them on and coarsely chop. Reserve the chopped vegetables to add to the soup.

2. While the tomatoes are roasting, you can make a quick stock for the soup and chop all the rest of the vegetables. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs. Reserve the kernels and add the cobs to a 6 quart pot. Rinse the leeks well, dice the white parts for the soup, and coarsely chop the green parts and add to the pot. Rinse and trim the celery stalks, dice the stalks for the soup, and add the tops to the pot. Scrub the carrots, peel and dice, and add the peels to the pot. If you like, you can peel the shrimp and add the peels to the pot (but if you are on vacation, leave the peeling for each person at the dinner table). Add 4 cups of water and a generous pinch of salt to the stock pot and then simmer the stock on medium low for about 30 minutes. Strain the stock into a large bowl or another pot and reserve (you should have 2-3 cups). 

3. Now start the soup. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. When it is warm, add a generous glug of olive oil (about 3 Tbsp). Add the diced leeks and saute until soft, about five minutes. Add the celery and carrots and saute for another five minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes, peppers, and garlic. Use a ladle full of stock to rinse the pans in which you roasted the tomatoes and add this to the soup pot. Add the clam juice, a quarter bottle of white wine, and enough stock to create the consistency of a thick soup.  Simmer on low for about fifteen minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. At this point you could turn off the soup and finish it later.

4. Shortly before you want to eat, finish the soup. Rinse the seafood and chop the fish into 1 inch chunks. To the simmering soup, add the corn kernels, then the fish pieces, and then the shrimp, letting it return to a simmer after each addition. Cover and simmer for about five minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked. Taste once more and add a splash more white wine or pinch of salt as needed. Turn off the soup and sprinkle generously with freshly chopped parsley. Serve with plenty of crusty bread.

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