Venetian Fish Soup
You can, and should, make this with whatever firm or moderately firm fish look best in the market. For a delicious traditional addition to the soup, toast four slices of good country-style bread and rub each piece with the cut-side of a halved garlic clove. Put a piece of toast in the bottom of each bowl and ladle the soup over it.
- 1/2 pound large shrimp, shells removed and reserved
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 1/2 cups bottled clam juice
- 2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from a 28-ounce can)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
- 5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt or more, depending on the saltiness of the clam juice
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 pounds moderately firm white fish fillets (use a mixture of 2 or 3 kinds), such as cod, halibut, ocean perch, orange roughy, pollack, red snapper, or tilapia, cut into 1-by-1-inch pieces
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1. Put the shrimp shells and the water in a small pot; bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain the shrimp stock into a bowl. Discard the shells.
- 2. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the carrots, onions, fennel, celery, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine; cook until it almost evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shrimp stock, clam juice, tomatoes, red-pepper flakes, 4 tablespoons of the parsley, the thyme, salt, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Taste for salt and, if needed, add more. Remove the bay leaves.
- 3. Add the fish, shrimp, the remaining tablespoon parsley, and the pepper to the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the fish and shrimp are just done, about 2 minutes.
- Wine Recommendation: Tomato-based fish dishes are just fine with red wine. Here, a refreshingly light and fruity Bardolino from the Veneto will be perfect.
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