Hot Soup for Cold Days

Island Epicure


As we slide further into fall, daytime and nighttime lower temperatures nudge us to  wear sweaters, put extra blankets on our beds, and to cook hot, high protein, high carb meals.   Also, there’s nothing like a hot soup to warm us when a brisk and chilly north wind whistles around the house.  Bouillabaisse, the French seafood stew, comes to mind.  Today it came to our dinner table.

Bouillabaisse can be a little different each time the chef makes it. Its basic ingredients are one or more kinds of fish, plus other sea foods, combined with tomatoes and other vegetables and broths. The ingredients depend on what’s in our freezer or at the supermarket’s seafood section. Tonight we found frozen boneless white filets of tilapia and a packet of shelled shrimp. We still had to get the plastic-like tails off the shrimp. To add color, and for vegetable nutrients, we put in lima beans and diced tomato. A few appropriate dried herbs rounded out the flavor.

Since there were only son Steven and me to enjoy dinner tonight, our bouillabaisse used the quantities given below.  To serve four to five people, just double the ingredient quantities.

Bouillabaisse Extraordinaire
Serves 2 generously

1/3 pound shrimp
1 bay leaf
1 slice lemon, optional
½ teaspoon salt
Water to cover

1 large tilapia or sole filet
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon pepper, optional
Dash salt
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup frozen lima beans
1/4 to 1/3 cup canned diced tomato
Broth from cooking shrimp
Sprinkling of Italian herb mix

In a small saucepan, cook the shrimp, cool it  enough to handle and  pull off any tail or shells it has.

Melt butter in a small skillet. Add the fish filet. Sprinkle with  salt and the 2 tablespoon of lemon juice.  Cook gently until fish is opaque. Break it up into bite size pieces. Reserve.
Cook the lima beans until quite tender.

Combine all the ingredients in one soup pan. Include the broth from cooking the shrimp, and any juice from the tomatoes plus any liquid that the fish sweated out. Sprinkle the bouillabaisse with Italian herb mix. Stir. Taste and add more salt and/or black pepper if needed..

Complete the menu with toasted and buttered Bavarian rye bread and a salad of washed and dried spinach leaves and diced red pear. Offer garlicky ranch dressing, or Greek yogurt as a dressing.

Nutrition tip:  The iodine in seafoods helps your master gland, the thyroid,  do its job of keeping all your other glands at their respective jobs. It is said that the thyroid gland lives on iodine. What we get in iodized salt helps, but eating seafood at least twice a week gives your thyroid, and your brain much needed nutrition.