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Big Daddy’s (Kosher) Fish Soup


2 lbs. fish heads, bones and trimmings

3 cups water

1 cup dry white wine

2/3 cups sliced onions

2 celery tops with sleeves

3 sprigs of parsley

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup olive oil

2 lbs., each of 3 kinds of fish fillets, such as flounder, red snapper, redfish, trout, mackerel, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh tomato pulp (about 1 lb. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and gently squeezed)

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsely

1 tsp finely chopped garlic

1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled

1/8 tsp powdered saffron, or crumbled saffron threads

1 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsely

1 tbsp freshly grated lemon peel

In 6-quart soup pot, combine fish heads, bones and trimmings with water and wine. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Add the onions, celery tops, parsley sprigs, bay leaf and thyme and return stock to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a deep bowl or saucepan, pressing down hard with a spoon on the fish trimmings and vegetables to extract their juices before discarding them.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4-5 quart pot until a light haze forms over it. Brown the fish in the oil over moderately high heat for only 2 or 3 minutes on each side. With a bulb baster, remove all but 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil. Stir the saffron into the strained fish stock and add to it the tomatoes, 1 tbsp of chopped parsley, the garlic, the oregano, the salt, and a few grindings of pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer, stirring gently; then reduce heat, cover, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until the fish is firm to the touch and flakes easily when pierced with a fork. Do not overcook. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley and grated lemon peel. Serves six to eight.

Reprinted from the Kosher Cajun Cookbook by Mildred Covert and Sylvia Gerson, available on Amazon.

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