About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Baked Fillet of Sole with Tomato, Oregano and Hot Pepper | Main | Halibut Over Squid Sauce »

My Father's Fish Soup


I was able to find the best looking whole fish I have ever seen at the supermarket. It’s a yellow tailed snapper. The picture does not do it justice. I was amazed at the clearness of the eyes. Yes, I know that is a sign of freshness. Living in the Missouri away from large bodies of fresh or sea water means most of fish I buy is frozen. When I do buy fresh fish it has already been cut into fillets or steaks.


Each week I approach the recipe with an open minded and acknowledgment of any “baggage” I have regarding the ingredients. With every recipe there is an opportunity to like a food I once did not or think about a favorite in a new way. In the past I have not liked clam chowder –Manhattan or New England. Because of this I have avoided other fish soups.

Rockfish, Sea Bass, Halibut, Shrimp, Clams, Mussels and Squid (not pictured)

There are several steps you must carefully execute to create this dish. In addition to the snapper, I used the seafood listed above. I felt a little sad when had to cut of my fishes head. This head and two others were cooked, meat removed, bones picked and then mashed through a food mill. Dry white wine, garlic, EVOO, parsley and tomatoes are the remaining ingredients. There are quite a few steps to this recipe. The entire recipe dish about 2 1/2 hour including prep. Marcella said it was more of a stew than soup and it was. I used a fork to eat it.


This soup has bold fish flavor. I should have guessed since it gave off a fairly strong aroma while cooking. My palette is not sophisticated enough to appreciate this soup at this time. I can’t say that I’m surprised. However, I am surprised the ingredients for this dish surpassed the cost of the Black Truffle Pasta I made in June. This is the most expense recipe I will prepare during this cooking challenge.

Comments (3)

Brava, Irene! Yes, we are happy to finish the fish chapter!

Irene, that snapper is beautiful! It is amazing how much flavor can be extracted by running the fish heads through a food mill.

Marcella Hazan:

Italians, Irene, expect fish to be the most expensive item in their food budget, and when they eat out at a seafood restaurant they expect that to be the most expensive restaurant meal they can have. Assuming of course that everything is of the choicest and freshest quality. You did an excellent job and I can sympathize with your feelings about the aroma and taste of the dish. It is bold, and it can be difficult to approach on first acquaintance.

One little bit of fish head lore. The flesh on it is indeed the tastiest part of the fish, in Japanese restaurants it is called kama and can be ordered as a separate course. In Venice, if you order a grilled rombo - turbot - it is brought whole to the table, the waiter then separates the head from the body, mashes it with the back of a spoon, and blends the results with the juices from the rombo.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 13, 2010 10:40 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Baked Fillet of Sole with Tomato, Oregano and Hot Pepper.

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