Thursday, February 5, 2009

Zuppa di pesce or ciuppin

Awesome for an overcast day!

Fish Soup (Zuppa di pesce or ciuppin)
1 lb white fish fillets
1 lb salmon filets
1 lb mussels
1 lb little neck clams
1 lb cleaned squid, cut into rings
6 shallots, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
2 14-ounce cans imported Italian plum tomotes, diced
1 small can tomato purée
1 cup white wine
1 chunky sprig oregano
1 chunky sprig of thyme
4 cups fish stock
Salt and Pepper
Chopped Italian parsley, chopped foe garnish

Cut the fish fillets into chunky pieces. Scrub the mussels clean, pull away any beards and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Throw away any that have broken shells. (Mussels that are gaping open should be tapped firmly on the work surface. If they close up they are fine, but if they remain open discard them.) Rinse Clams thoroughly and discard any that do not close when tapped firmly.
Sautee the shallots, garlic and red pepper gently in the oil until the shallots are tender and translucent.
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, thyme, oregano and a little salt and pepper. Simmer down until thick. Stir in the fish stock and wine and bring to the boil. Simmer for two minutes, taste and adjust seasoning. The stew base is now ready. Shortly before you wish to eat, bring the base back to the boil. Add the mussels and clams cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the fish and the squid, cover again and simmer gently for another 5 minutes until the mussels and clams have all opened (discard any that stay firmly shut). Serve right away in large bowls sprinkle with Italian parsley.

Sourdough Starter

1 Package dry yeast
1-cup warm water
1 cup warn nonfat milk
2 cups flour
In a medium bowl mix yeast over water. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes. Mix in warm milk. Add flour; mix to blend then beat until smooth. Transfer to a large container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then with a towel and let stand at room temperature 24-48 hours… until mixture smells sour…. (YUMMY!O.K. it’s not a science project it’s well… it is sourdough!)
Stir down upon occasion. It will be quite active for several hours after it is prepared. Use starter or refrigerate in a tightly covered container until ready to use. Between uses, refrigerate and bring it to room temp between uses. Good idea is to leave it out overnight to bake in the A.m. (or you can make pancakes!!!!) Replenish by using equal parts of flour and nonfat milk. (For example, if you use one cup of starter, mix one cup each of warm milk and flour and let stand until bubbly and refrigerate, tightly covered, until ready to use again. Or until you clean out your fridge…then when you are in the mood…start again!!

Sourdough Bread
Traditionally…. (All these traditions…. we need to bust them and make up some of our own…OOPPS not spoken like a true Bay area chick!!!) Anyway…Traditionally, loaves of sourdough are large and round. (Like the kind you bake dip in) with the top crust scored with a Chris cross design. I like to make them in long loafs, French as well as baguettes, epi, rolls…the sky is the limit. Again “traditionally served with mustard, crab and jack cheese, well I can think of a million ways to serve it!!!!!

1 cup Starter
1 package dry yeast
2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1-teaspoon salt
6-7 cups flour
Let starter come to room temp. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup of warm water. Add sugar and let stand for about 5 minutes. Stir in the rest of the water and the starter. Add four cups of flour. Mix to blend then beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in 2 cups more flour, then add up to 1 cup more to make a stiff dough. Turn dough out on to a board coated with remaining flour. Knead until dough is springy and small bubbles form just under the surface. (15-20 minutes) Or place in bowl of electric mixer fitted withy a dough hook and process for about 10 minutes.) Turn dough into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk about one hour.
Punch dough down and let rest for a few minutes. Divide into 2 equal parts and shape each one into a ball and place on greased cookie sheets that have been lightly dusted with cornmeal. Cover lightly with a towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour. With a very sharp knife cut a Chris cross in each loaf about 1/4 inch deep.
Preheat oven to 400. Bake until golden brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped about 1/2 hour.

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