Seafood soup… strange form of comfort food.
I’ve been working out this whole new diet thing, and it’s still causing problems, but it’s getting easier.
Today was gloomy, kind of cold, your typical day in western Washington, and I was having a serious craving for warm comfort food. I wanted mac & cheese — pasta’s off my diet list right now. I wanted mashed potatoes — I can’t have potatoes right now. So I had to improvise, and I stopped at the local co-op on my way home, because lucky for me, it’s a block from my office. Looking around, there was some scallops, and they looked pretty good. I snagged them, and some fresh cod, along with a few other things that didn’t end up in dinner tonight. There was shrimp at home in the freezer, and I plotted on the drive home what to do with these things.
Since it’s cold — 49 degrees when I drove past the temperature gauge that had read 93 on Saturday — and rainy, soup sounded heavenly. What I wouldn’t have given for a nice, fresh loaf of crusty bread to dip into the broth, but I’m not dwelling on what I can’t have these days.
Instead, I can have things like this wonderful, filling seafood soup.
This was simplistic, because it’s been a long day, and the art of cooking soup is often, for me, in the simple task, not the overly energetic efforts.
Soup, for me, reminds me of my dad, who is always talking about wanting to feed the world, and he’ll do it with soup. So whenever I make soup, it makes me smile, thinking he’d like that I was making it. Maybe I’ll freeze some of this the next time I make it, to take down to him.
Seafood, in all its various forms, is one of my all-time favourite food groups. I’m quite content to live off various types of seafood. In fact, I’ve had more fish this week than anything else, but how could I pass up fresh Copper River salmon, and exquisite, local-caught black cod? It’s something that comes with growing up in the Pacific Northwest, where seafood is abundant and fresh; we eat a lot of it. You can often tell someone is local by how they like their seafood, and their coffee. And when it’s cold, what better than to combine one of these loves with one of the simple pleasures of food, a lovely, hearty broth?
I did end up using a store-bought veggie broth rather than making my own, again for simplicity. Normally I make my stock, but tonight I bought some low-sodium, fat-free organic veggie broth to use as my soup base.
Chopping up a quarter cup of onion — stored in the fridge, so it was cold, and didn’t make me cry — and a clove of garlic, they were tossed into a heavy stockpot with a tablespoon of olive oil, to cook for a few minutes, until the onion was nice and tender. I added 1/4 cup of white wine, and let it cook down, as the smell started to permeate the house, making it feel homey, and the smell making me hungrier by the second.
Once the wine cooked down, four cups of broth were added, along with four tomatoes, chopped. Letting this simmer for a little while, I could go sit, check my email, relax a bit from the long day at work, and let the smell invade every corner of the house.
After about half an hour, I tossed a pound of scallops into the broth, and let them cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, already envisioning eating by the time I added the pound of cod, cut into one inch cubes. Another couple of minutes, and in went the shrimp to finish off cooking.
As I ladled a bowlful of this warm, sweet soup into one of my new bowls, I almost couldn’t wait to take a picture before I started eating.
It’s not mac and cheese or mashed potatoes, but while I’m in low-carb mode, this will find its way into rotation for those nights I need comfort food, I want something filling and hearty without a lot of filler…
It was perfect for a dark, stormy northwest night, curled up with a bowl of hot soup in my hand as I sat by the window and watched the rain fall down outside. These are the nights I love, and the reason I continue to live here, the place that more than anywhere else in the world, will always be home.