Well, this week’s recipe is a fish stew with some very subtle hints of licorice via the fennel and pastis–hence the title, “Riviera Fish Soup.” After cooking, Dorie suggests running the soup through a food mill and then straining it. I didn’t read about straining it until after I’d taken this photo and after we’d already noted that the texture was off-putting. For another serving, I did finally strain it and the soup was lovely, if not thin and somewhat insubstantial texturally.
My take? Gorgeous soup before I milled it and I really didn’t want to ruin it. I’ll definitely make this soup again, but I’ll probably keep all the glorious chunks so that we can benefit from the somewhat expensive protein–I used sole at $10/lb–and have it be more of a meal. The milled/strained version is a nice snack or first course kind of thing. The dill was a nice contrast with the soup. Also, I used filets, so to add in flavor lost due to the lack of fish heads I included 1/2 teaspoon of Better than Bouillon’s fish stock. I served it with some toasted bread and a homemade mayonnaise-garlic-dill aioli I’d made for some coleslaw the previous day.
As for the pastis? I purchased Ricard brand, made my own version of a perroquet to drink, and then used it in the soup. I felt that it added complexity to the soup without tasting overtly licorice-y. To my tastes, the pastis was definitely necessary and gave the dish some “oomph.”
The Perroquet Cocktail
When I was regularly doing research in France, largely Paris, I’d go during the summer and see people drinking these green drinks. They looked refreshing and so so green that I was always curious what the heck they were drinking. I never did raise the courage to ask and no one sitting directly next to me ever had one for me to easily point to, so I had to use my friend Google. It was the perroquet–French for parrot.
Here’s a link to a recipe: Perroquet cocktail
My version is slightly different, and just as simple:
1 part pastis (prefer Ricard over Pernod as it’s a bit more herbal, but either will do)
5 parts sparkling water/club soda
1/2 part crème de menthe (or more, to taste)
In a glass with an ice cube pour in the pastis and the sparkling water. If your sparkling water is very cold, you don’t need the ice. Pour over the crème de menthe. Stir. Sip on the patio in the sun. Or pretend you’re in the sun.
Variation: You can sub out the creme de menthe for 1/4 part Grenadine to make a Tomate–yes, named for a tomato due to its color.