A specialty of the Veracruz coast, this Mexican seafood soup is similar to bouillabaisse. Seafood soup--in one variation or another, depending on the catch of the day--is found across Mexico, where it is commonly sold in markets as a hangover remedy. We used green-lipped mussels, but blue mussels will give you the same result.
3 poblano chiles
1 1/2 teaspoons aniseed
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained (such as Muir Glen)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
3/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
8 lime slices
How to Make It
Cut chiles in half; discard seeds and membranes. Place halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 5 minutes or until blackened. Place in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag, and seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel chiles; discard skins. Finely chop chiles.
Cook aniseed and cumin seeds in a saucepan over medium heat 1 minute or until toasted and fragrant. Place in a spice or coffee grinder, and process until finely ground.
Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped onion and minced garlic; cook 15 minutes or until onion is browned, stirring occasionally. Add the toasted ground spices; cook 1 minute. Add sugar, salt, clam juice, chopped jalapeño peppers, and fire-roasted crushed tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped poblano chiles, lime juice, tilapia, shrimp, and mussels; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done and mussels open; discard any unopened shells. Stir in minced fresh cilantro, and serve with lime slices.
I always add a little bit of sherry and it makes it so much better! I also like to spice it up and make a habanero salsa (just lime juice, chopped onion and chopped habaneros) to go on top (optional of course).
If someone you know is allergic to bivalves, you should just substitute seafood stock in place of the clam juice and sub calamari instead of the mussels. It still works amazingly!
I like this soup very much. My partner had never tried mussels before, and had only tried shrimp a few times in his life. He was impressed with the taste of the seafood as well as the spiciness of the soup. I love the cilantro garnish. It makes a huge difference. I made few adjustments- I did have to use diced tomatoes which have larger chunks, but we liked them. I also could not find the whole spices to roast, so I substituted ground spices. This soup makes a lovely presentation and is pretty simple to make.
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