Rustic French Seasonal Fish Soup with Potatoes, Chickpeas & Herb Aioli

Recipe makes 4 to 6 entrée portions

2 Sweet Onions, thinly sliced

2 Carrots, thinly sliced

4 Celery Ribs, thinly sliced

2 tsp. Granulated Garlic

28 oz. can Diced Tomatoes (Muir Glen is a great brand) OR 2 lbs. Fresh Tomatoes, diced

4 cups Vegetable Broth or Fish Stock

1 tsp. Kosher Salt

1 lb. Flavorful Potatoes, such as Fingerlings, Baby Rosas, Yukon Gold, Purples or Red Skins, small diced

1 & 1/2 cups Cooked Chickpeas (drained well if from a can)

1 lbs. Seasonal Fish, cut into bite size pieces, such as Snapper, Halibut, Flounder, Grouper or Corvina

Herb Aioli, recipe follows

Heat a large stockpot over medium high heat; when hot add a generous amount of oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onions to the pot and sauté until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the carrot and celery to the pot and sauté until just barley tender, about 2 minutes. This trifecta of onions, carrots and celery are known as mirepoix and form the base of most French, and other European, recipes for soups, braises and stews.

Stir the granulated garlic into the pot and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add to the soup base the tomatoes and broth; season the soup at this point with the 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. A final seasoning with more salt will be done just before serving the soup.

Cover the pot and bring the soup to a simmer. Stir in the potatoes and chickpeas, reduce the heat on the stove to low, and recover the pot. Simmer the potatoes for 5 to 8 minutes until they are tender to the bite. Be sure the soup stays at a simmer and does not boil or you will end up with mashed potatoes in your soup.  Once the potatoes are perfectly tender but still hold their shape, stir the fish into the soup. Keep the heat on low, and recover the pot. Allow the fish to poach in the soup for 1 to 2 minutes; the fish will cook through very quickly when it is cut into small pieces and submerged in the hot broth so be careful not to over cook it. Taste the soup and add a little more sea salt as needed to season appropriately.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls and place a spoonful of the herb aioli in the center of each portion; guests can swirl the aioli into the soup as they eat to enrich the texture.

Herb Aioli

Recipe makes about 1 cup of Aioli

2 egg Yolk*

1 Tb. Dijon Mustard

Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon

¾ cup Olive Oil

2 Tb. Fresh Herbs, such as a mix of Basil, Mint, Parsley, Chives, Rosemary, Thyme or Tarragon

Place the egg yolks, Dijon and lemon juice in the small bowl of a food processor. With the motor running slowly pour in the olive oil to emulsify the mayonnaise. Transfer this fresh mayonnaise sauce to a mixing bowl and stir in the herbs of your choice; season the sauce with sea salt to finish making it an aioli. Sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.



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