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.