Zuppa di Pesce or Everybody’s Fish Stew

Zuppa di Pesce con Vongole (CAWCOM) (3)



Every one who loves Italian food knows what zuppa di pesce is.  Or do they?  It simply means fish soup but is actually more a fish stew.  There is no one recipe as every little seaside town or fishing port has a notable local fish stew or zuppa di pesce.  And you too can make up one with whatever is local and fresh.  This is a sweet little recipe to make for yourself and a friend. Whenever I travel in Italy I always find myself remembering with great clarity that the best dishes are often the simplest preparations. The inspiration here are those simple seafood preparations that are taken so much for granted, but really are quite extraordinary. The three seafood here, the clams, swordfish, and red snapper, are also three very easily found and simple to handle. You can use whatever three seafood you want as long as one of them is clams, one of the fish is firm-fleshed such as tuna, and one is flaky such as red snapper or flounder or sole. Serve with toasted bread if desired.

Fish Stew with Clams (Zuppa di Pesce con Vongole)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 dried red chile
1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
12 Manila clams or 8 littleneck clams (about 1 pound)
1/3 pound swordfish
1 1/2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound red snapper fillet
In a flameproof casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook, stirring, the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, chile, tomatoes, clams, swordfish, water, salt and pepper and cook 7 to 8 minutes. Add the red snapper and cook until the clams open or the swordfish is firm to the touch or the red snapper is about to flake, about 5 minutes or less. Serve hot.
Makes 2 servings

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