Psarosoupa AvgolemonoOct 25th, 2010 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Featured, Fish, Greek, How To, Lemon, Main, Olive Oil, Soup
One of the most wonderful dishes one can have in the Greek repertoire of recipes is a fish or seafood soup. There’s Kakavia which is usually tomato based and contains whatever fish and seafood is in season or caught on that day. The best Kakavias contain the Scorpion fish.
The other soups are called Psarosoupes (fish soups) and the recipe can differ from house to house and region to region. What remains constant is the use of the freshest fish and a simplicity in execution. I would also add that oily, heavier fish like a mackerel or bonito would not be used here. You’re looking for a lighter, milder fish like cod, snapper, grouper, dentex or in today’s instance, monkfish.
I like monkifsh as it’s a very flavourful fish and I don’t have to fuss too much with worrying about the errant fish bone being found in my soup. Monkfish will probably win the “fuggliest sea creature in the sea” pageant but conversely – it will also win in the taste category. A whole monkfish is not difficult to spot with its wide mouth and head, flat and triangular body that tapers towards its tail. The edible part of the mokfish is the tail, where two fillets that look like a thinner pork tenderloin are trimmed from either side of the tail bone. What’s left of the fish is the head and spinal column….excellent for a Psarosoupa!
Cooking up a Psarosoupa is easy and falls into three steps: soften and boil your vegetables, then build on the broth by adding your fish without having to worry too much about pin bones by using a basket steamer to lower the fish into the soup. The final step is finishing the soup with a frothy Avgolemono mixture of eggs, lemon juice and a bit of flour.
I usually have this soup (or a Vrasto) on that one cool day in the summer where you’re reminded that Autumn is not too far behind. Another key to this dish is the use of selino. Selino is similar to celery but the stems are much thinner yet stronger, more pungent. If you’re looking for selino, try your local Asian market (that’s where I go). If you can’t find selino, celery will suffice.
As long as you have the freshest of fish, this rustic soup doesn’t demand knife skills (everything roughly chopped) and only a patient hand is needed when tempering the hot stock with your beaten eggs and lemon juice to make the Avgolemono component. I’m hungry, let’s make a Psarosoupa.
Psarosoupa Avgolemono (Ψαρόσουπα Αυγολέμονο)
4 med onions, quartered
1 bunch of selino, diced or 2 stalks of celery (diced)
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 large potatoes, roughly cubed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 monkfish* or cod or grouper or dentex or red snapper (approx. 1 1/2 kg.)
9-10 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
lemon wedges for garnish
- Peel your onions and quarter, peel your carrots and roughly chop into spoon-sized pieces. The selino should be finely chopped. Place a large pot on your stovetop over medium heat and add the olive oil and the onions, carrots and selino. Stir and saute for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
- Now add your roughly cubed potatoes into the pot, stir for a couple of minutes and now add the cold water and turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add some sea salt, a little bit of black pepper and reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, if using a whole fish (scaled and gutted), place the fish in one of those basket steamers (easily remove fish and little chance of bones getting into soup). Gently place the fish into the stock and over medium heat, bring back to a boil. Simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.
- In the meantime, Add your flour to a bowl with a splash of water and whisk into a slurry. Add your eggs and lemon juice and beat. If you like, use your hand blender and process and until frothy, set aside. Carefully remove your fish from the stock and allow to cool a bit. Taste your stock and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Time to make add the Avgolemono to your stock. Whisk the egg/lemoj mixture with one hand and while whisking, slowly ( I SAID SLOWLY) add the hot stock to the egg/lemon mixture. Add 2-3 more ladles of hot stock. Now stir the stock and add the tempered Avgolemono to the soup.
- Divide and serve the soup and place some warm fish on top of each serving.
- Serve with lots of good crusty bread, drizzle of Greek extra-virgin olive oil, wedges of lemon and fresh ground pepper.
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© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis
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© 2010 – 2011, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.