A fish soup surprise for the lunch-time crowd

Out of nowhere at the office meeting the other day came the question: “Well, Ian, what would you like to write about this time? “Umm,” was the answer that sprang first to mind! My brain was still struggling to catch up with my tongue as I added: “Well, how about a nice fish soup?” You should have seen the look on their faces.

Steven Wintemute, Pegasus’ fishing guru, often pops by my home when he has been fishing and drops off his catch. “Here you go, mate,” he says, smiling, as he hands me a bag of white fish or walleye or northern pike. “You can do what you like with them,” he adds, this time turning over his filleting knife. Steve hates filleting the fish he catches.

What do I like? Sometimes I stay with a traditional baked or fried pickerel, or barbequed. Or even fish cakes. But for today’s dish, I’m committed to fish soup. As you can see by the picture, it turned out really well and the Pegasus gang enjoyed it. Not a real surprise, but a cook is always pleased to have happy faces around the dinner table.

You wouldn’t say this dish has a heavy fishy aroma..The combined flavors seem to enhance the pallet, adding up to a fine lunch-time meal. Not too rich but rich enough for the diners to feel they had eaten their fill and could move on.

It really is not that difficult to put the dish together. It starts the same as any other soup, with onions, celery and carrots.

IMG_3744Fish soup ingredients
5 egg yolks
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsps. lemon juice
½ tsp. Tabasco
1 tbsp. fresh chopped dill
1½ cups butter
2 onions
4 carrots
3 sticks celery
2 ½ cups milk
½ cup cream
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. white pepper
½ cup cooking wine
12 large cooked shrimp (shelled)
1 large fillet whitefish
12 to 18 small scallops
1 medium fillet basa or salmon

With the stove element set at medium heat, place one-quarter cup of butter in a soup pot on the stove and let it melt. Chop the onion and add it to the pot; then chop the celery and carrots and add to the pot, sprinkling the black pepper over the vegetables. Pour in the cooking wine and reduce. Add 6 cups of boiling water and 1½ cups of milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Chop up the fish (but not the shrimp) into pieces of manageable size. Place a large frying pan on the stove, add one-quarter cup of butter and allow to-melt. Add the fish, flavored with a little salt and pepper. Once the fish has cooked on one side turn it over and add the remaining cup of milk. When the fish is cooked through, add the fish and milk mixture to the now-simmering pot of vegetable broth.

In a blender container, combine the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and Tabasco. Cover and blend for about 5 seconds.
Place the remaining 1¼ cups of butter in a glass measuring cup and heat butter in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until completely melted and hot. Set the blender on high speed, and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It should thicken almost immediately. Add this to the soup and stir in thoroughly.

Now add the shrimp and leave to simmer for about one hour.

When serving this soup you can make it a little more hearty by preparing some mashed potato and, after pouring a serving of soup into a bowl, placing some mashed potato in the centre. To finish, place fresh dill on the potato and lightly dust the top with cayenne pepper. The cayenne gives the soup enough kick to heat you from the inside out. Enjoy.

Originally  written by Ian Leatt for Lifestyes55 paper (http://lifestyles55.ca)

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