More in Kitchen

Revisiting the Straight Wharf

A delicious recipe for fish soup, direct from its creator

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Marian Morash is well known to television audiences as the executive chef on "The Victory Garden." If you were lucky enough to visit Nantucket in the 1970s or 1980s, you know her as one of the chefs at the popular Straight Wharf Restaurant. She's well known to us at This Old House as well, since she's married to executive producer/director Russell Morash. Maybe that's why she agreed to share one of her own favorite recipes with us.

Marian's "Straight Wharf Fish Soup" was a crowd-pleaser at the restaurant, and it was on the menu every night for 11 summers. It reflects its creator's belief in using the freshest in local ingredients to get the most delicious results. The recipe is flexible enough to accommodate your favorite firm-fleshed fish, so use whichever one you like — and whichever is freshest.

Roseann Henry
Marian Morash is well known to television audiences as the executive chef on "The Victory Garden." If you were lucky enough to visit Nantucket in the 1970s or 1980s, you know her as one of the chefs at the popular Straight Wharf Restaurant. She's well known to us at This Old House as well, since she's married to executive producer/director Russell Morash. Maybe that's why she agreed to share one of her own favorite recipes with us.

Marian's "Straight Wharf Fish Soup" was a crowd-pleaser at the restaurant, and it was on the menu every night for 11 summers. It reflects its creator's belief in using the freshest in local ingredients to get the most delicious results. The recipe is flexible enough to accommodate your favorite firm-fleshed fish, so use whichever one you like — and whichever is freshest.

Roseann Henry
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Straight Wharf Fish Soup

 

Straight Wharf Fish Soup

Makes 3 to 4 quarts

A fish stock is essential for this soup. Many fish markets sell fish stock, or you can prepare your own well ahead of time and freeze it or make fresh stock the day before you assemble the soup. The rouille can be made well ahead. The entire soup base can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Just before serving, reheat and add and cook the fish.

Alternative fish to use: striped bass, cod, haddock, halibut, tilefish, wolfish, monkfish, or other firm-fleshed fish, or a combination of fish and scallops.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cups sliced onions or a combination of onions and leeks
6 cups peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped ripe tomatoes*
Herb bouquet wrapped in washed cheesecloth: 4 sprigs parsley, 1 peeled clove garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
3-4 strips dried orange peel
2 quarts fish stock (see recipe, next page)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Hot pepper sauce
2 1/2 to 3 pounds skinned and boned fish, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch chunks
5-6 saffron threads
Pernod (optional)
Chopped parsley
Rouille (see recipe, page 4)

*If you don't have tasty ripe tomatoes, use drained and seeded canned. Omit the steps to release and reduce the juices of the fresh tomatoes.

Instructions
In a non-aluminum-lined 8-quart soup pot, heat the oil, add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat until they are wilted and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and cook gently for 5 minutes to release the juice of the tomatoes. Uncover the pan and boil gently for 4-5 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Add the herb bouquet, the orange peel, and the fish stock; bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and a few drops of the hot pepper sauce. Remove and discard the herb bouquet and orange peel. (Cool and refrigerate the soup base at this point, if you like.)

Just before serving, bring the soup base to a boil. Drop in the chunks of fish and the saffron threads. Bring the soup to a gentle boil again and cook until the fish turns opaque, about 4-5 minutes. Add a splash of Pernod, if desired. Serve in warm soup bowls, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve rouille on the side to stir into soup.

(c) 1993 Marian Morash; all rights reserved

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Fish Stock

 

Fish Stock

Makes 3 1/2 to 4 quarts

Fish stock is made from fish frames. A fish frame is the head, spine, and tail of a fish. Always make sure that the gills are removed. I like to use cod or haddock frames, but frames from any lean, white-fleshed fish will do.

Ingredients
10 pounds meaty fish frames
1 large peeled onion
4-5 stalks celery
1 teaspoon thyme
1 quart dry white vermouth or white wine (optional)

Instructions
Wash the frames very thoroughly and make sure to remove the gills. Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot and add enough water to cover the fish frames by at least 2 inches. Bring the pot to a boil, skim off any foam, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a colander into another large pan, pressing on the frames to release any remaining juices.

Boil the strained stock for 15 minutes more to reduce it slightly and intensify its flavor. Let it cool, place in storage containers, cover, and refrigerate or freeze.

(c) 1993 Marian Morash; all rights reserved

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Rouille

 

Rouille

Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups

Ingredients
5-6 cloves of garlic
Salt
1/3 cup drained pimento
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
3 pasteurized egg yolks
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 - 1 cup olive oil
Hot pepper sauce
Freshly ground pepper
Fish stock (optional)

Instructions
Peel and finely chop the garlic and place in a mortar with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mash to a paste. (If you don't have a mortar, mash the salt and garlic together using the back of a knife.) Mash in the pimento and basil, then add the egg yolks and breadcrumbs and mash all together to a paste. Place this mixture in a food processor and gradually beat in the olive oil until the mixture is thick. Season with hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Thin if desired with hot water or fish stock.

(c) 1993 Marian Morash; all rights reserved

 
 

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