You might be familiar with the combination of golden raisins, capers and olives that is typical of cooking found in Catania, Sicily. Here, it sweetens an easy soup loaded with several kinds of fish; the variety brings extra flavor to the pot.
Serve with slices of grilled ciabatta bread drizzled with olive oil.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup capers
- 8 imported pitted green olives
- Leaves from 1 bunch (3/4 ounce package) basil
- Leaves from 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
- 2 salted anchovies
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup golden raisins (sultanas)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 1/2 cups water
- Pinch sugar (optional)
- 1 pound skinless white-fleshed fish fillets, such as yellow perch and /or West Coast rockfish
- 1 pound skinless firm-fleshed fish fillets, such as monkfish, yellowfin tuna and/or mahi-mahi (preferably a combination)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
Meanwhile, drain and rinse the capers. Coarsely chop the olives. Mince the basil and parsley to yield 1 1/2 cups total; they can be combined. Rinse and chop the anchovies.
Peel and lightly crush the garlic cloves, then add to the pot and stir for 1 minute to infuse the oil. Discard the garlic (which should be lightly browned).
Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate into the oil, then add the raisins, capers, olives, half of the basil and parsley, the anchovies and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/2 cup of the water and the pinch of sugar, if desired, and mix well. Cook uncovered for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has reduced by about half.
While the soup base is cooking, sort through the fish, removing any pin bones and skin; chop the fish into large chunks if desired. Add to the pot along with the remaining 4 cups of water. Increase the heat to medium-high; cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the more delicate pieces of fish begin to break up.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Divide among individual wide, shallow bowls. Use the remaining basil and parsley to garnish each portion. Serve hot.
Adapted from "The Best Soups in the World," by Clifford A. Wright (Wiley, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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