Tomato and Saffron Fish Soup à la Nice

Serves 6.

Note: From JeanMarie Brownson.

• 1/4 c. olive oil

• 1 small fennel bulb, about 4 oz., ends trimmed, diced

• 1 small leek, halved, rinsed, chopped

• 1 large white onion, about 6 oz., diced

• 8 small garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1 (28-oz.) can tomato purée

• 4 c. (1 quart) seafood stock (or light chicken broth)

• 2 tbsp. vermouth or dry white wine, optional

• Generous pinch ground saffron or 1/2 tsp. saffron threads

• 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

• Rouille (recipe follows)

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 2 lb. cod fillets, cut into 1-in. pieces


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add fennel, leek and onion. Cook and stir on medium-low until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook a couple of minutes. Do not brown the vegetables.

Add the tomato purée, seafood stock, vermouth, 1/4 cup water, saffron and cayenne pepper. Heat to a boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Purée smooth with immersion blender or in a blender, working carefully in small batches. (The base can be made several days in advance; refrigerate covered.)

Reheat the base, and adjust with up to 1 cup water if the soup is thicker than heavy cream. Stir in 1/2 cup of the rouille. Season with salt (about 1 teaspoon) and a generous 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the fish. Simmer until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. Use a fork to break up the fish. Season again with more salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with remaining rouille and toasted bread.

Nutrition information per serving with rouille:

Calories 460 Fat 24 g Sodium 1,190 mg

Carbohydrates 28 g Saturated fat 3 g Total sugars 11 g

Protein 35 g Cholesterol 65 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

Exchanges per serving: 3 vegetable, 1 carb, 4 lean protein, 3 fat.



Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Note: From JeanMarie Brownson.

• 1/3 c. olive oil

• 3 or 4 slices 1/2-in. thick French baguette or 2 thick slices ciabatta bread

• 1 (12 oz.) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained, rinsed

• 1 small serrano pepper, stemmed, halved, seeded

• 3 garlic cloves

• 1 tsp. salt

• Pinch ground saffron, optional


Combine 2 tablespoons very hot water and the oil in a small bowl, and soak the bread in it until softened.

Transfer to a blender; add roasted peppers, serrano pepper, garlic, salt and saffron. Process until a smooth purée.




Creamy Fish Chowder With Bacon, Corn and Spinach

Serves 6.

Note: You can use 1 or 2 cans (14.75 ounces each) wild-caught Alaskan red salmon and some canned crab here in place of the fresh fish for a speedy soup. Pick through the canned salmon to remove any bones or skin. I like a Louisiana-style hot red-pepper sauce with this soup; Sriracha is too sweet. From JeanMarie Brownson.

• 1 small (3 ounces) leek, split lengthwise, rinsed

• 2 thick slices bacon, diced (about 2 oz.)

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 2 medium (6 oz. total) yellow-skin potatoes, diced

• 1 small white onion, diced

• 1 large carrot, peeled, diced

• 1 small serrano pepper, halved, seeded, minced

• 4 c. (1 quart) seafood stock or chicken broth

• 1 c. frozen corn kernels

• 1 c. heavy whipping cream

• Salt and freshly ground pepper

• 12-oz. salmon fillet, skinned, cut into 3/4-in. pieces

• 1 lb. bay scallops, rinsed

• 1 small bunch fresh spinach, stems trimmed, well rinsed, roughly chopped, about 2 to 3 loosely packed cups

• Chopped fresh chives

• Hot red-pepper sauce


Remove most of the dark green section of the leek and save for other use. Dice the white and light green portion.

Put leek, bacon, olive oil, potatoes, onion, carrot and serrano into a large saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.

Stir in seafood stock or broth, and 1 cup water. Heat to a boil; reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring often, 20 minutes. (Base can be made several days in advance; refrigerate covered.)

If made ahead, reheat the base. Stir in corn and cream. Simmer over low heat, 5 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in salmon and scallops. Simmer, 2 minutes. Stir in spinach. Simmer until salmon almost flakes, about 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Garnish with fresh chives. Serve right away with warm bread or oyster crackers. Pass the hot sauce.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 460 Fat 32 g Sodium 160 mg

Carbohydrates 17 g Saturated fat 14 g Total sugars 4 g

Protein 27 g Cholesterol 100 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 carb, 4 lean protein, 5 fat.