Monday, December 18, 2017

Dinner tonight: Sopa de Mariscos

Well, it is chilly and sort of rainy here in bucolic Joshua, Texas. Did really good research on a piece due for the paper tomorrow and had my daughter Madeleina take photos for it. I love when she comes with me on location and shoots. She's good and getting better: Knows how to frame a photo for best commercial use, can frame it for the cover, knowing the paper's name is going across the top and that she'll lose the top quarter of the image.
Yesterday's locales were a couple of bars and bingo parlors that will have to stop allowing smoking on premises come Mar. 12. Today was the day to outline the article--maybe 1,200 words or so--and mull over follow up questions. I came up with some good ones.
Then it was time to get to the store to pick up something for dinner and a bunch fresh apples and limes and such. So I'm making Sopa de Mariscos, Peruvian jungle style. It's a tomato seafood soup with pasta.
Since I cannot get all the ingredients I want fresh unless I drive all over Fort Worth, I settled on a good quality bag of frozen mixed seafood: Shrimp, calamari, mussels. Then I bought half a pound of fresh shrimp and a pound of crayfish to add freshness to it.
So I'll start with minced garlic in olive oil, add finely diced celery, onion, and scallions. When garlic is going brown and the onions are getting see-through, I'll add 5 diced Roma tomatoes and some sea salt, a bit of crushed red pepper, and fresh ground black pepper.
Once those flavors marry properly, I'll add two large cans of Campbell's Tomato Soup and about a pint of good organic vegetable stock.
While that heats up, I'll peel and de-vein the shrimp, then toss the shells into a pot that is otherwise empty on high heat to scald them The shells will turn bright red when scalded. Then I'll toss in the onion ends, the scallion ends, the tomato ends, the celery ends and add about a pint of water. Put that on high and let it reduce in about 20 minutes down to a cup or so. Pour that essence into the soup.
Add the frozen and fresh mariscos (which means mixed seafood) and stir that up after lowering the temp on the soup.
Ten minutes later I'll add some angel hair, raw--because it will cook so quickly--a minced head of cilantro, and then season to make sure it's got a bit of a bite.
Side dish that I will start before i even attack the soup? Spaghetti squash. Halve it, eliminate the seeds, score it length wise. Dab butter on it so that the butter will fall into the empty cavity-halves as it melts, then bake for about 30 minutes at 335. Or so.
I'll pull that and scrape out the squash meat with a big spoon. It will come out looking like spaghetti. That will go into a saute pan that has garlic and olive oil and a large diced red pepper in it. Stir it around. Add seasoning as you like. Its really good squash.
And that is it. That's the meal. The soup is rich and the squash is so good you will want to eat it slowly so you don't finish it too fast. Enjoy. And if anyone is hungry and nearby, we'll be having that at about 6:30.

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