Tis the season for fish and seafood soups and stews...

What a great use for fish heads, "eat them up, yum!"

But seriously, lets share some recipes.

Comments

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,455 admin
    edited November 2021

    Okay, I will start it off with a very simple but really delicious recipe. I call it "Bait Soup". About this time most years to go down to the coast to surf fish and bring home a bushel or two of oysters and clams. The first step is to go out with my cast net and try to get some bait... minnows and shrimp... and some shrimp for eating. Usually I'll have some mullet and a few other small fish, maybe a pound or two of shrimp, I'll catch a few blue crabs and dig some clams. Sometimes I find some seas snails/winkles, grab a few mussels, etc. Usually, I'll catch some spots and croakers in the surf, which are fairly boney. Basically, anything fish big to throw back but too small to fry or grill goes into this soup, too. An eel or two is a real treat!

    Get some water boiling in a large pot and put a metal colander in it, toss in all the shrimp shells and heads, crab shells, heads, tails and bones from larger fish. Simmer, then strain out the bones. Next, put the colander back in and toss in the small fish and eels. When the meat falls off the bones, strain hem out, returning the meat to the pot. In another pot, sweat down onions, garlic and celery in olive oil... fennel is nice, so are leeks, peppers and definitely corn. Push the veggies to the sides of the pot and dd a spoonful of butter and a spoonful of flour, make a roux. Add some crushed tomatoes, stir and cook until it all comes together nicely. Add your fish stock to this pot, as much as you like. Add at least a cup of white wine. Milk is optional, but very nice. Season with parsley, celery and fennel leaves (whatever you have), salt and black pepper, crushed red pepper. Turmeric is a great addition. I like a good amount of Creole Seasoning - salt free Tony Cachere's is my go too, but there are fancier versions or you can make your own. If you use those with salt, don't add any plain salt. Shellfish go in at the end, usually a few each day.

    Potatoes can be nice, too, but they can dominate. I'd rather have some home fries on the side. Or a grilled cheese.

    I love to fish the coast when it is cold, and the weather is somewhat nasty so all the tourists and retirees are gone. It is stark, bleak and beautiful. I usually have a cup of this soup with breakfast, lunch and supper. Whether with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, it warms and fortifies the body for the bracing wind and salt spray.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    The best I have done was make my own fish stock by boiling up shrimp shells & heads, clam shells along with sautéed onions, celery, garlic, & carrots. The fish stock was then used in different meals including Pho.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 We used to go to church with families from several African countries who would bring fish head soup to potluck lunches. I never could get over the fish heads in order to try it. They did bring some very spicy rice that was delicious as well.

    I have never made soup with fish or seafood. We have eaten Ramen at a great Japanese restaurant with seafood in it.

    The only soups I make are Wedding Soup and Vegetables Soup unless you count curry.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,102 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My husband isn't a fan of most fish soups or chowders. However, I love a good white chowder. Sometimes I will make a chowder using some halibut, cod, shrimp and imitation crab as that is what I can afford. Sometimes I will add a little salmon, but it can be overpowering with such mild flavors. A big carton of heavy cream, a few diced potatoes, maybe a little onion and some butter.

    I have actually frozen the extra chowder for later meals when dear hubby is either not home, not hungry or we are having leftovers and there are not enough.

    As much as I love garlic I do not add it to this one.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,455 admin

    I like chowders a lot. I do clam mostly - most of the clams sold in the US, even in New England and NY clam chowder come from NC. They are plentiful in the sounds. I keep it simple: Fry up some bacon, onions and celery, add milk and potatoes and the juice from the clams, adding the clams at the end. Adjust salt and add lots of black pepper and some parsley. I do oyster stew pretty much the same way.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,455 admin

    Fish and rice pair extremely well. My family comes from rice country, on the NC/SC line near the coast. So, there is a big African influence in our cooking. There is a rich, but quickly fading tradition of catfish stews in the Pee Dee region. As for those fish heads, the cheek meat is often the very best part of a fish - like the "oyster" on a chicken thigh.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,102 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've never thought to add bacon. I bet it's delicious that way. I do the mix in my chowder when I can get my hands on everything since I only make once a year or more likely every 2-3 years.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    You all just reminded me of my trip to Japan. We took a sushi class at a restaurant. Anyway as part of the meal they brought us miso soup to go with the sushi we had made. The miso had fish parts swimming in the soup! They were kind enough to warn us as the sushi master had livd stateside for a few years before returning to Japan. He knew most Americans wouldn’t touch their traditional miso soup. He took us to the kitchen and there were several fish heads floating in the pot.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,455 admin
  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 945 ✭✭✭✭

    I’ve only eaten fresh ocean-caught Yellow Tail fish grilled over a fire with lime and avocado served on a large leaf, and whole pan-cooked Red Snapper served with a Caribbean coconut sauce.