Friday, February 27, 2015

Riviera Fish Soup

Per Nana~
Okay, now I have to make a trip back to France.
 I ran out of my stash of Pastis. 
Is that a good enough excuse ? We think so......
Preparing this week's recipe of Riviera Fish Soup I used fresh cod 
instead of the Red Snapper that Dorie suggested. It smelled so delicious 
after just the first five minutes of cooking that I was already to dig in.  
I told Jim that I didn't want to puree the soup since it looked so good as is. 
Due to last week's miserable weather I used up all the little onions from 
the last recipe and in place of the fennel I used leeks. It worked, but I am sure
 that the fennel would have been a much better match with the pastis. 
The soup was quite good, perfect on a cold wintery day,
 but I am not sure I would make it again. 
Per Tricia~
I also came up with a substitute for the Red Snapper since my grocery 
store was out, and I went with Tilapia.  Not being a fan of fish, I didn't 
expect to enjoy this recipe. Down to my hubby and myself as taste testers
 I did the math to make a half portion. 
 I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious the recipe smelled while 
being prepared and was quite excited to give it a taste test. 
Like Nana, I also thought the soup looked wonderful when the cooking was
 finished on the stove and I hesitated to grind it all up, per the recipe. 
I split the difference and kept half of it "chunky" while putting the rest into
 the Cuisinart. The verdict is that we liked the texture of the chunky version
 better, but since I tend to like my soups ground finely (esp vegetable ones) 
I was happy to have tried the comparison. We were surprised that the distinct 
aroma of the fennel and Pernod did not end up with an overwhelmingly anise
 flavor - it was actually quite subtle. My hubby did not add any additional 
seasonings but I gave my bowl a few hits of Tabasco sauce for even more heat.
While not all are on "team anise", I personally have wonderful memories
 of my first sips of the sweet liquor Anisette while sitting on my Italian 
grandfather's knee. I was very lucky to have grown up with big Sunday 
family meals where there were many courses and no rush to finish.   Dessert 
always included fruit, among other options, and while I am sure there was a 
cookie or two involved in the ritual, my memories focus on the fork full
 of melon slice that I would enjoy while hoping for a sip of Anisette. 
Another fond memory involves a 2007 trip to Paris when my folks joined us 
as we took our young sons along on my husband's  business trip.  My folks 
were phenomenal tour guides and whizzed us all around the "City of Lights". 
I love this picture of my family ! (sans poor working hubby !)
With hubby at work, the rest of us explored the famed "Rue de Rivoli" and 
Louvre while  Grandpa- who had "been there, done that" reported he would 
catch up with us later. We later circled back to locate him and I will never 
forget my younger son's squeals of disbelief as he reported where he had 
found Grandpa. While peeking in the window of the fancy Hotel Regina, 
he spied Grandpa sitting on the fancy velvet settee in the marble lounge, 
enjoying a cocktail and snacks ! My son could not imagine being inside 
such fancy place, let alone sitting there and looking quite at home....
Pastis for Grandpa, Kir Royale for Nana and coffee for me. The boys only wanted the chips...
 And the drink ? 
Of course he was simply enjoying his afternoon Pastis :) 
We all went in to join him and enjoyed quite the moment and quite the memory ~

Happy French Friday ~


  1. What a fun post! I loved reading about your family trip to Paris. I really wish I hadn't pureed my soup. Or at least had kept some whole as a taste test. I think I would've preferred it that way.

  2. I love the family photo too! What a great story. I enjoyed the flavors of this one, but the texture, not so much. I think team chunky is the way to go. Your photo at the top of the post is magazine-worthy!

  3. Ladies, I love this post! Your family trip to Paris sounds lovely!! And I love your family photo…too bad hubby was working.
    Believe it or not…I really enjoyed this soup, and so did Bill! Both of your versions look wonderful! Tricia, I love that you did a taste test of smooth and chunky! They both look delicious!
    I remember my grandfather drinking the Lebanese version of Ricard. Our family dinners were a lot like yours. Always fruit on the table!

  4. Good for your dad treating himself that's what Paris is all about. I'm so glad you did the taste comparision between the chunky and smooth. I had a feeling that the chunky would be better. I'm not a super fan of anise but I agree it was a nice taste in the soup.

  5. Fun memories! This soup really had wonderful flavors, definitely a surprise. I am looking forward to trying a pastis cocktail with my leftovers!

  6. Love the flashback :) And I love the soup not puréed - wish I would have done that myself!

  7. Thank you for the Paris memories, such fun. Yes and running out of an ingredient is totally a good excuse to go back. I think team chunky wins for this week. I am glad I stuck with my salmon and lentils. Have a good week.