February 1, 2005
Zuppa del Frutti di Mare (Seafood Soup)
Seafood soups and stews can sometimes be difficult to make, but this one defies the odds with only eight easy-to-find ingredients. The addition of saffron gives the soup an intriguing musky flavor and pleasing orange-red color that belies its humble beginnings and allows the goodness of the seafood to shine through. The recipe comes from DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine, an amazing resource for anything and everything Italian, and a cornerstone of the Pike Place Market since 1928.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can (12 ounce) whole Italian tomatoes
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock OR 3/4 cup canned chicken broth plus 3/4 cup water
Pinch of saffron
2 pounds mussels (scrubbed and debearded just before cooking) or clams (scrubbed) OR 1 pound shrimp (rinsed, shells cut down the back with kitchen shears, and deveined) or scallops (rinsed and patted dry)
1 pound seafood fillets, such as halibut or salmon fillets, rinsed, skinned, and cut into 1/4-pound pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
Four 1/2-inch baguette or rustic bread slices, grilled or broiled
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
Heat butter and olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened but not browned, stirring frequently. Add wine and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until reduced slightly, stirring constantly.
Add tomatoes and their juice, crushing the tomatoes with your hands or the back of a large spoon. Add chicken stock and saffron, stir well, and bring stock to a simmer.
Add seafood to pan, cover, and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until fish is opaque and shellfish opens. Remove any mussels or clams that do not open. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, divide the seafood and broth among individual bowls. Top with baguette slices that have been rubbed with the garlic clove.