Chef John Guinivere prepares this delicious dish: Pacific Red Snapper Soup
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We’re going to start of with this fish soup and I do the same, all the same starter. Unless I’m doing a real specific soup, it’s an Asian soup or something like that. I’ll do pretty much the same thing and let’s get the heat going. And I always use Italian seasoning. It just works for me if I used other combinations or just the dried individuals but I really like using the blend of the Italian seasoning.
I want to use white wine, leftover champagne whichever you have. Don’t go too sweet. Some black wine is okay but I prefer cooking with something like a chardonnay or a nice dry champagne. And I always put garlic in there. And I use the back side of my knife. I’m going to sort of just give that a little mince. It’s an easier way to mince and clean the tools that mince the garlic for you.
Now, if you’re doing a soup, some soups really taste better the longer they cook. We’re doing fish so we’re actually—you want the fish to be sort of pre-firm and held together. I don’t like it when the fish falls apart. So, I’m almost going to make a soup and then I’m going to throw the fish in at the last minute. In that way, I’ll keep the fish—it will be nice and firm and together.
And we are cooking with wine or champagne or anything that’s alcohol. Before you add any liquids into it and anything else, always make sure that the alcohol has cooked off because it will give it a fine flavor to your soup or your sauce so that’s very important. There are some mushrooms here. I’m throwing this in first as far as vegetables are concerned because I want them to cook the longest. So, I like the mushrooms to change its texture from rubbish to a more—mushrooms sort of have a meat texture when they’re cooked. You’ll cook long enough if you want to get fancy. I usually used my soup as a way of getting rid of stuff that’s I was about to go to bad in the kitchen. I’m not saying this is about to go to bad but if you have things in the ban or you have some meat that’s leftover from a party or during a couple of days ago. A soup is a great place to just throw everything in. And instead of waiting a couple of more days and throwing it in the garbage can so it’s a good place to save some money.
And we got to have some onion. This makes huge a difference. This soup base, I’ve been using it for 20 years. And it’s very safe and you guys can be the judge in the flavor if you like it. And what I’m doing in the chicken soup or seafood soup, I almost always use the granulated chicken bouillon. Really what I’m doing is I’m making a good tasting soup and I’m adding the fish to it as another flavor in there. So, I’m not as concerned about the fish, the soup tasting like fish as well. I think it’s okay if you—I could be putting fish and chicken and mussels and all sorts of things and we don’t want to taste all of those flavors. You just want them to stand up individually and this I do.
And if you’re going for a bowl of base, this tends to be different because you’re really looking at that real fishy flavor in your stew. A really good fish for this is red snapper. And anything that’s firm. I wouldn’t use a real expensive kind of fish like a sea bass or anything. This is just at 14 or 16 bucks a pound. Sauté it and make a sauce with it. I wouldn’t put it into a soup but I think it’s fairly an expensive catfish. Those are good firm fish. Some like Dover Sole will just gulp and then turn the dust and make your soups a little bit cloudy instead of tasty. A little bit of tomato in there. In soups, that’s definitely where you put your tomatoes that have gone soft and it’s very tasty on the sandwich. You will have the texture you would like or on your burger. And when I slice onions, I always never do it that way because I figured the onions got some ringing so I let the onion do the crosscut. And if you like it more country style just do a much bigger chop or as we say in French terminology, bigger either that’s acceptable.
Now, if you wanted to change this soup at the last minute, I’m not going to make this cream soup. But you can always finish off almost any soup with cream. And if you ever do that make sure you take the cream and put it on a container inside and add little soup to the cream, that’s called tempering. In that way, when the cream hits the soup, it will not break onion. Cottage cheese was stored in there.
So, once the wine evaporates, I’m going to add a little bit of I guess some olive oil and we’ll sauté just for a couple of minutes to get the cameralization of the onions and the garlic. And we’re going to put some green onions and the cilantro. But I can do that at the last minute because I want the color to stay nice and green. If we put the green onions in the boiling water, it will not take long before it will discolor. I cut the guys here off. If you do a little bit of a crosscut, if I did this in just kind of rings but using another angle like this. I’ll show you another trick while I’m doing because I got this. If you take the tops of your onions and strike the tip of your knife through the onion soft couple of times like this—well, these are curling up anyway. But once you put them in the cold water for a few minutes you get a really nice garnish that all curls up. And that’s something to do with your tops if you’ve got some extra onions. And the cilantro already washed. Cilantro is actually one of the most used spices in the world. And they’re supposed to do the fact the Asians use a lot of it. There’s a lot of Asians. And these are some good chops. Like I say we’ll throw that in just the last minute there. Almost reduced, and the best part of this plant is it smells really good, right? I think everybody is interested in the house going. Couple of more minutes.
And on the fish, two things, I would suggest when you’re buying your fish, it’s not your neighborhood. You don’t need market that specializes in really high quality stuff. It’s Friday, maybe fish is fresh, maybe those and you can’t have a look at it. Have the butcher put on his hand and smell it. You should not smell fish. I shouldn’t smell, I mean I can not smell this fish that means it’s fresh enough. Also, rub your hand across the fish and I can feel the bones. And there’s some bones right here. And the soup especially they want bones, it’s not that we’re going pick through it and see it. So, what you want to do is you find out where the bones are running and they’re running a line. And if you let your knife be your guide, if the knife runs into the bones you feel it but if it’s not and you’re on this side then you can just cut out that chunk.
Now, if you want to really squeeze it out, you could go ahead and do it. And see if you cannot pull anymore meat on that. But sometimes it’s not worthy ever but again a little bit more. I definitely check it and anything that’s not totally pretty, get a little bit of a trim, take the little excess off. And we’re going to stop for a second and I’m just going to let that go for about 30 seconds more. Make sure I got all the bones out of this fish. There’s a little bit more here.
And one secret, a nice sharp knife really helps when you're cleaning a fish especially if you’re taking the skin off. You really need to take the skin off if these have skin. If you get the skin side down and you go right at the very beginning and then you get your knife so this runs along the skin it will come right off, a little tip for you if you go camping or deep sea fishing.
Okay. I’m pretty much done as far as sautéing the vegetables and there is so much flavor in this. You’ll see it in a few minutes. Make sure you use hot water and then we will have to wait longer to bring it to a boil.
So, in few minutes and we’re going to garnish the plate. And there’s really not too much I can do between now and brings it to a boil but once it would come to a boil, it’s actually I’m going to have the flavor I wanted. And we’re going to add some chicken bouillon. You can use the granulated, you can use the paste. You can use just about any of them. They all pretty much end up tasting the same. And you also want to use this as your salt. Don’t salt it. Let the bouillon allow a body to it, the flavor of the chicken and very good for salting your food.
We’ll just take a minute so that’ll come into a boil. So, I can go ahead and put my fish in now. The fish of course is going to bring the temperature down. It’s cold fish. That’s pretty robust stove. There’s a lot of a bitty used into these. If you have a smaller stove you might really wait until it comes to a full on boil. And this is cooked quite quickly. And I always put some black pepper in my soup. This is like a white leek or something like that and I might use some white pepper instead.
Most of this right now, I’ll add the little flavor out but I’ll leave this on the side for the garnish. And really that’s pretty much it. And I bring the temperature down. This is a good time to see that your salt is right. Sometimes you might grab some white wine that’s actually little sour. If it’s sour, little honey will even it out. I’ll take away the bite. This actually needs a little bit more chicken base. And the champagne is slightly sour so I’m going to add some honey if I have it here handy. Here’s a pack of sugar, same stuff. It shouldn’t taste sweet. It should just bounce out the sourness of the champagne. That’s what I’m going for. Don’t worry I’m not double dipping. There’s no sweetness to this. It just evened out the flavor of the champagne added to it.
And clear bowls are good for soup like this because you can see all the color and everything on the side. And then just put your garnish in there, few more fresh onions. And you’re done.