Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 20, 2022

© Yvonne Duivenvoorden

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Chorizo and clam stew with tomatoes and arugula

Around the world with three soups that are perfect for sharing — or not

This simple stew takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, and makes a thoroughly satisfying meal.

3 tbsp. (45 ml) olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
10 oz. (280 g) fresh chorizo, casing removed, or dried chorizo, thinly sliced or coarsely chopped
¼ c. (60 ml) packed finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ c. (60 ml) packed thinly sliced fresh basil
3 large ripe tomatoes (red, yellow or heirloom variety), chopped
1½ c. (375 ml) dry white wine
6 c. (1.5 L) fish stock (recipe follows) or bottled clam juice
dash of hot-pepper sauce
3 lb. (1.4 kg) littleneck or Manila clams, scrubbed clean
4 c. (150 g) packed coarsely chopped baby arugula or arugula

In a large stockpot over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and shallots, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.

Add the chorizo and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage, for 5 minutes. Add the parsley, basil and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes. Turn the heat to high, add the wine, and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Add the fish stock and hot-pepper sauce, and bring to a boil.

Turn the heat to medium, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the clams and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until they just begin to open. Discard any clams that don’t open. Makes 10 to 12 tasting portions or 8 full servings.

To go: Make the soup without adding the clams or arugula. Pack them both separately. At the party, reheat the soup and then add the clams. Once they open, add the arugula and serve.

Fish stock (Dairy- and gluten-free)

Fish stock, or what the French call fume, is quick and easy to make. Ask your local fish store to save you “frames,” the bones that are left after filleting a fish. Look for mild-tasting white fish like flounder, cod, halibut or haddock. Stronger fish like salmon, bluefish, or mackerel are too oily to make a clean-tasting fish stock. You can also add lobster shells to the stockpot.

This stock is the base of many fish soups and chowders. If you don’t want to make your own, ask the folks at your fish store if they make/sell it. It will be much more flavourful than what you find in the supermarket.

4 lb. (1.8 kg) fish frames (bones), with or without heads, gills removed (you may need to coarsely chop the bones to fit in your stockpot)
3/4 c. (180 ml) dry white wine
1 large onion, quartered
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns
½ c. (125 ml) packed chopped fresh parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp. (5 ml) dried
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot, combine the fish bones and wine. Add enough cold water to just barely cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off the white foam that forms on the surface and turn the heat to low.

Add the onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley and thyme, and season with salt (go easy; you can always add more at the end). Partially cover and simmer gently (try not to let it boil or simmer too vigorously) for 20 to 45 minutes. Taste the stock (it should have a mild briny flavour) and adjust the seasoning, adding ground pepper and more salt if needed. (Remember that a lot of seafood, particularly crustaceans, are salty, so you want to avoid over salting the stock.) Strain the stock and let cool.

Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Makes about 8 cups (2 L).

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