...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Food journal number 51: Swedish-style French fish soup


I promised in the last food journal that I would blog, among other things, about our attempts to eat more fish (we're in yet another one of our eat-healthy phases).

Fish is something I thought Sweden would have an overabundance of, before I moved here. I guess I was influenced by the fact that most salmon in the Philippines are labeled "Norwegian salmon". I thought Swedes – by extension to Norway, and by extension to Norwegian salmon – would have fishburger chains everywhere and fishmongers at every corner. Little did I know that the most popular dishes here are more likely meatballs or falukorv, and that it was easier to find a hotdog or pizza stand in the middle of nowhere than to find a "real" fish dish in a decent Chinese restaurant.

As it turns out, fish, especially fresh fish, is expensive as they have to be delivered inland. Some varieties are also endangered and therefore rare and expensive. And I thought I'd spend my first year here getting healthy and saving money on a fish diet. Oh, no.

But, good news! There's preserved fish! Frozen fish in a soup is today's topic, in the form of a Swedish-style French fish soup taken from one of Margareta's cookbooks. Frozen fish are not so good on their own (a bit on the dry side), so soups are in my opinion the best way to cook them.
Another good thing about this particular recipe is that the bulk of it can be prepared beforehand. On busy days, Margareta can serve this soup to guests and get positive feedback – from, among others, yours truly who copied the recipe. The original name in the book was French-Swedish fish soup (fransk-svensk fisksoppa). Which part of the soup is French and which part is Swedish is beyond me. However, it seems to be a good mix of both worlds. Definitely something that you can serve proudly to guests.

French-Swedish fish soup

600-700 grams cubed fish fillet (I used frozen salmon-, pangasius- and cod cubes from a bag)
400 grams shrimps
2 finely chopped onions
3 finely chopped garlic cloves
3 T olive oil
1 fennel bulb, cut in strips
1 large carrot, cut in thin slices
5 raw potatoes, cut in small cubes
1.2 liters water
3 fish bullion cubes (I used 2 fish cubes and 1 veggie cube)
1 t thyme
1 can whole tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 sachet saffron (0.5 gram, but I used only half a sachet, .25g)
2 deciliters white white
juice of 1/2 orange

1. Prepare all the vegetables – or ask your boyfriend to do it :-D! In a large pot, sauté the garlic and onion together in oil (do not brown the garlic Filipino-style). Afterwards, add the fennel, carrot and potatoes. Add water and the broth cubes and thyme (I poured the water stages, not all at once – in the belief that it turns out better that way).

2. Open the can of whole tomatoes and cut the tomatoes with a pair of scissors in the can – the book suggested it was better this way than to use pressed tomatoes. Add this to the pot. Salt and pepper carefully and let boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.

3. When half the time is up, add the wine and saffron and let simmer again for the remaining time.

NOTE: Steps 1 to 3 can be made the day before, or several hours ahead if nescessary. At this point, I divided the broth in half, froze one half for future use and used the other half for step 4:

4. Add the fish. If the fish is fresh, add it when the broth is boiling hot and let simmer for 3-5 minutes, not more. Since I had frozen fish and wanted to make sure it was defrosted and cooked, I first let the fish simmer in the hot (but not boiling) broth for 4 minutes, put the temperature up and let it boil for another 2-3 minutes. I then let them rest in the hot broth away from the heat. If unsure, take out a fish piece and cut with a knife. Hard fish that breaks out in crumbs = overcooked. Firm fish that separates in big flakes = perfect.

Good with beer and garlic bread, but filling even on its own.

Bon appétit, or should I say, smaklig måltid! And have a good Easter weekend!

2 Comments:

Anonymous Lara said...

we see that you are a fan of finnish design :-)

9:23 AM

 
Blogger Ahoy! said...

Haha! We got the "runner" from a Jenni, a Finnish friend of ours (it's actually a dish rag but I don't have the heart to use it as one! Hehe!). The Iitala candle-light holders was an old graduation gift Marcus recieved after gymnasiet. I do love Marimekko stuff though, the flower designs kind of grow on you after some time of having them around the home :-D

1:53 PM

 

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