Seafood Soup (Shorabit Akl Bahri)

January 19, 2015
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 10
Author Notes

This soup is from Olives, Lemons & Za'atar by Rawia Bishara. From the book: "I created this soup for my son, Tarek, who loves seafood above all else. There’s nothing quite like the flavor of the very freshest fish and shellfish cooked in an herbed broth; I use as many fresh, fragrant herbs as I can get my hands on. Of course, it’s okay to substitute more of one for another, but the combination of fresh cilantro, basil, dill and oregano is ideal. It is unusual to find cumin in a seafood soup, but I find a touch subtly warms the broth. The beauty of this soup is in its versatility: you can use whatever firm fish you like. Sometimes I prepare it with root vegetables, other times, I add more chopped tomatoes to make the
soup resemble a classic bouillabaisse. The recipe can be halved, if desired." —Food52

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 whole red snapper (about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces calamari, cut into thin rings
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 4 quarts low-sodium chicken stock or water, or 1 quart clam juice mixed with 2 quarts water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 fresh sage leaf
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. Combine the salt, pepper and cumin, if using, in a small bowl. Sprinkle a third of the seasoning mixture over the snapper and set the remaining two-thirds aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the snapper and saute, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Using a fish spatula, transfer the fish to a paper towel-lined platter.
  3. Add the shrimp and calamari to the same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes. Using the fish spatula, transfer the calamari and shrimp to the paper towel-lined platter.
  4. Toss the shallots in the pot and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5 minutes more. Stir in the cilantro, basil, dill, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Pour in the stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the bay leaves, cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft and the stock thickens slightly, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, debone the fish and add it, along with the reserved shrimp and calamari, sage leaf and tomatoes, to the pot; cook for 5 minutes more. For a more intense flavor, include the fish head. Turn off the heat, remove the sage leaf and the bay leaves and stir in the lemon juice. Spoon into soup bowls and garnish each serving with some parsley.

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