Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mix It Up / Blog Love: Soupe du Pecheur

A new blog has popped up in the blog world, and I'd like to share it with you... 
What's For Dinner - A Blog About A Daily Quest for Health & Vitality is written by a wife and mother who had to reinvent herself, and her kitchen, after her husband was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer.  As the family fought together to overcome the illness and emotional rollercoaster, a change in diet is largely attributed to where they are today, 11 years later - they are now healthy and thriving.  As always, great things come from unfortunate circumstances, and this blog is just that - a great space in the www world, a way to share their experiences and some good healthful recipes with the masses. 
So here is a recipe she has published, along with her notes of why it is so good for you, enjoy:

Soupe du Pecheur
What's For Dinner
Serves 4

Part of my family's dietary overhaul involved getting used to making fish a major part of our diet. Okay, not just any fish will do. Though I have a serious crush on Swordfish and Ahi, these seldom make it onto our home dining menu. Their status in the food chain as predators and their penchant for living in warmer waters, makes them too high in toxins for regular consumption. We try to stick to deep, cold water fish which has been wild caught. Tonight's dinner is a comfort dish that I often order at one of my favorite restaurants, Le Pain Quotidien. I don't have their recipe which, served in a crock with a big piece of crusty bread, is my idea of the ultimate comfort food. But, I have to say my version turned out so delicious that though I slurped up a good-sized portion about an hour ago, just a minute ago, I found myself going to the pot and sneaking another couple of furtive spoonfuls. Luckily, for those like me who really love our grub, this dish is really high on taste but not on calories.

A couple of notes before I give you the recipe: I shop at Trader Joe's quite a lot because I don't have a fresh fish market nearby and they have a good selection of wild caught flash frozen fish. If you have a good fresh fish market nearby, lucky you! You can choose any fish you like for this stew. Again remember, that the deep cold water fish are less polluted. But as you'll see, I gave in to my love of shellfish and threw a little shrimp in my version below.


- Organic Celery, 1.5 cups chopped
- Boiler Onions, 6-7 peeled & cut in 1/2 or 1/4 depending on size
- Fresh Organic Garlic, 4-5 cloves slightly crushed
- Organic Carrots, 3 carrots peeled & cut into 1.5 in pieces & quartered or halved lengthwise
- Organic small red or purple potatoes, 6 quartered
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/4 cup
- Organic chicken broth (fish broth is fine too), 4 cups
- Saffron threads, a big pinch or to taste
- Lemon Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
- Lemon Juice, 1/2 - 1 lemon depending on your taste
- Coriander, 1/4 tsp ground or you can use fresh Cilantro (a couple of tbsp finely chopped)
- Red Pepper Flakes, 1/4 teaspoon
- Paprika, a pinch or two
- Silver Coho Salmon fillets, Wild Caught, 1 lb skinned & cut into 4-5 chunks
- Large Sea Scallops, 8  *Not treated with trisodium phosphate, this stuff just plumps them up artificially with water which then all leaks out when you cook them and yuck!
- Jumbo Blue Shrimp, 8
- Organic Ghee,  *This is clarified butter. You can get it at most gourmet markets. If not, it won't mess anything up if you use regular unsalted butter (organic is better).
- Salt, to taste

One of the great things about this meal is that it can all be made in one pot (love one-pot meals). Use a deep thick bottomed pot.
Put the oil in the pot and heat over medium high heat for a minute or so.
Add the onions, celery, and garlic cloves and stir to cover everything with the oil. Sauté these until fragrant and translucent without letting them brown too much.
Add the carrots and potatoes and stir everything to coat with the oil. Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
Add the stock, saffron, lemon pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes, and coriander. If you use fresh cilantro add it later. Stir.
Add lemon juice from 1/2 of a lemon.
Cook all this goodness for about 10-15 minutes over medium heat to let all the tastes meld and let the veggies get tender.
Add the fish first, then the scallops, and shrimp. Arrange the seafood so that it is covered with broth and vegetables while it cooks. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low.
Simmer for another 5-8 minutes. Just before the fish looks completely cooked through, add the cilantro, if you are using the fresh stuff, the other half of the lemon juice and the ghee. Gently stir, cover and turn off the heat. Let it all sit for 5-10 minutes to finish cooking. You don't want to overcook the seafood!
Taste and add some salt if you want.
Serve in shallow bowls making sure each one gets a piece of fish a couple of scallops and a couple of shrimp with plenty of broth and veggies. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a lemon wedge.
It's a meal in itself, but you might want to add a piece of crusty French bread on the side to sop up the broth. YUM!

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