Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fish Soup with Bread and Rouille (Page 116)

RECIPE #1124

  • Date: Saturday, February 27, 2010 -- 6pm
  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Kitchen: Our Temporary California Home
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

I chose this recipe as part of the All Seafood All The Time plan. I started by making the broth. I cooked leek greens, onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil, then I added smashed garlic cloves. I added saffron, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes and cooked for a couple minutes. Then I added plum tomatoes and canned tomato puree. I added white wine and simmered until reduced by half. I added some homemade fish stock (which I made earlier and froze) and simmered some more. My special gentleman prepared the croutes, by removing the crust from a loaf of bread and brushing it with oil. The instructions said to grill the bread in a grill pan on the stove, but there's no grill pan in the house we are renting. So my special gentleman grilled it right on the gas burner grates, which worked perfectly well. Then he tore the loaf into pieces, spread them on a baking sheet, and baked until crisp on the outside. I then strained the broth. I cooked chopped leeks in butter, then added the broth, salt, and 1-inch cubes of halibut. When the fish was cooked through I stirred in some of the Rouille (See post below). We put the croutes in bowls, then poured the soup over them and sprinkled with chopped parsley and oregano. In some ways this soup was very satisfying. I love halibut, and the halibut was excellent in this soup. The broth was tremendously flavorful. And the croutes were very tasty if eaten separately, or lightly dipped in the broth. However, if prepared as instructed (put croutes in bowls then pour soup over), the croutes got tremendously soggy, losing their lovely texture. I am never a fan of soggy bread and this was no exception. It was a shame too, but the croutes were delicious before they became mush. My other complaint about this dish was that although so many delicious veggies went into its preparation (leeks, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, tomatoes...), all of the vegetables were strained out of the broth, and only some leeks were reintroduced. I would have liked some chunks of carrot and celery, for instance, in the final product. All that said, this soup was tasty -- the flavorful broth and perfectly cooked fish made for a nice meal.

The recipe is here.

This evening I am resting before what I am sure will be an intense week of mathematics. There are various math institutes around the world where research in pure mathematics takes place outside of a university. Several of these institutes host conferences or workshops. I am spending this week at one such institute, in Palo Alto, California. This institute has a program where a group of four mathematicians can apply to come to the institute for a week and work together on a difficult problem. The institute pays for the travel, housing, per diem... There are no scheduled talks or activities. It is a solid chunk of time to get together with colleagues and do mathematics. I am spending this week working with my friends/colleagues Mike, Vigleik, and Andrew at the institute. I am really excited about it! The four of us live in Indiana, Boston, Chicago, and Austin respectively, so it's not often that we are all in the same place at the same time. And when we are (for instance, at a conference in Norway this past summer) we are often so busy that we don't have so much time to work together. So this is a great opportunity, and I am looking forward to a fun and productive week!

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