So one day, seeing he always brings it up, I decided I would make him zuppa di pesce.
This is fabulous, absolutely fabulous. My family love this.
This is simple, clean, fresh cooking, and it's extremely easy to make.
Now for this soup you will need five different types of seafood, I used three small- medium sized scorpion fish, you could use one large one instead, whatever is fresh and available, ling fillets, mussels, prawns and vongole. You can also use scallops, pipis, calamari etc With the fish, you want a fish that is firm and won't fall apart when cooked.
It helps if you have people on hand that love seafood around to help you with this dish. For instance my husband and father when I removed the prawn heads, ate what they could from them, they said it was deliciously spicy. And they enjoyed cleaning and eating the scorpion fish, as both of them eat a whole fish and they thoroughly enjoy eating a fish head.
One important ingredient in this soup is oven toasted italian ciabatta bread, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. This is placed in the bottom of your bowl, then you ladle over your seafood and your soup. When you get to the bread at the bottom, it has soaked up the soup, it is fabulous, I can't describe how much I love this. (My husband for his birthday also wanted zuppa di pesce, but he wanted it with tagliatelle, and all that had it with the tagliatelle, loved it, but I'm a bread at the bottom of the bowl kind of a girl). Make extra bread, you'll need it, but it has to be toasted in the oven.
Here is a simple yet absolutely delicious soup you need to make.
about 2 kg mixed fresh fish and shellfish
3 small-medium sized scorpion fish
about a 15cm skinless ling fillet, a thick fillet, cut into bite sized pieces
12 prawns, peeled, deveined, reserve the heads
500g mussels, scrubbed, remove beards
250g vongole, soaked to purge sand
160ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus an extra clove for rubbing
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
3/4 cup white wine
2 x 400 g tins of diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon vegeta
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
extra parsley leaves, for sprinkling
8-10 slices Italian ciabatta bread, toasted
If your fishmonger hasn’t already done so, clean and prepare your chosen fish and shellfish.
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced.
Put the oil, onion and the prawn heads into a large pan, sauté 3 minutes, add in the garlic and chilli, saute a further 2 minutes. Remove prawns head (you can leave them in to add even more flavour to the sauce, I find this is enough, but sometimes I leave them in).
Pour in your wine, then add your tomatoes and 500ml water. Add in the parsley, vegeta, season with a little salt and pepper. Add in your scorpion fish. Cover with a lid and cook for about 15-20 minutes. As the fish does not get completely submerged in the liquid. I like to carefully turn it over half way through cooking.
Take the fish out carefully (and prawn heads if you decided to leave them in, I don't discard them though, I just put them on a plate on the side for my husband), and remove the flesh, I remove most of the skin, but some of it can stay on, set aside, you will add that back in later. Discard head and bones. While you are cleaning the meat from the bones the soup is simmering gently uncovered. Taste your soup for seasoning now, but remember the seafood will add more salt to the dish.
In the meantime, lay 1 and 1/2cm thick slices of your bread on an oven tray. Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes. You can if you like rub a little garlic on the bread now, I don't. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.
This is cross between a soup and a stew, once you have the consistency that you like, you can add in the seafood.
Now the seafood will go in one after the other really but there is an order. Add in your fish fillets first as they take the longest to cook, after about 30 seconds, add the mussels and pipis, do not add any liquid that they released. After a minute, add in your peeled prawns and return the scorpion fish meat to the sauce. This all cooks in about 5 minutes once your fillets go in, just make sure all of your seafood is submerged in the sauce. Taste for seasoning.
Place your toasted bread in the bottom of your serving bowl. Ladle over the seafood and the sauce. Drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive, sprinkle over some more parsley.
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