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Jean's Healthy Seafood Soup

Last Friday, we woke up to snow! The chilly weather reminded me that my friend Jean sent me a recipe she made up called "Healthy Seafood Soup". She made this for her daughter, when she decided to become a pescetarian.

I made Jean's Healthy Seafood Soup.  Her recipe was easy to follow!

This chilly weather also affected our plans to visit the Walla Walla Wine Country for the Fall Release.  We wanted to enjoy some newly released wines and spend some time with friends.

Snow in early November? I am hoping my winter planter boxes hold up for a while!

According to Komo News, our local news channel, Mike Ehl, Director of Operations at Sea-Tac Airport said an unusual north wind blew out of the Fraser River Valley and made its way down to the Puget Sound region - which caused enough havoc at the Sea-Tac Airport to impact nearly 360 flights and cancel ours. This wind direction is typical on warm summer days, but not this time of year.

It was disappointing to have our weekend plans changed and not be able to get out of Seattle for a few days to enjoy the fall colors and visit our friends, Sarah and Jim, who had a great weekend planned for us.

What is with this weather?

Since Jean's recipe calls for a white fish, I checked The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® to see which fish I should use. This guide helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that is fished or farmed in ways that have less impact to our environment.

Alaska cod is listed as a "Best Choice".  The Seafood Watch is updated twice a year.  I read that our state's local fishing fleets may be affected by "The Blob", a large body of warm water that may be taking a toll on Alaska cod. I hope Alaska cod stays a best choice as it is tasty fish and very healthy.

With all this weird weather in the Pacific Northwest, it can be difficult to keep up with what is healthy to eat and what is healthy for our environment.

I called Gemini Fish Market - our local fish shop in Issaquah, Washington, and asked them if they had Alaskan Black Cod and what shrimp I should buy.  Not only did they made some great recommendations, they impressed me with their continued focus on sustainable seafood stocks that contribute both to healthier people and healthier oceans.

I made Jean's recipe with Alaska Black Cod and Louisiana White Gulf Shrimp.  Her recipe is very easy to follow.  I chopped up the onion and celery and made Emeril's Creole Seasoning Spice Mix. To make things easy, I used chopped garlic from a jar.

Everything is chopped up and ready to go!

This recipe was just for my husband and me, so I only used one Chinese Eggplant and divided the recipe in half.  The recipe calls for Japanese Eggplant, but Chinese Eggplant was in stock at the store - and I am not sure I know the difference.

If you do not currently use silicon baking mats, I highly recommend them. Below are before and after photos of the silicon sheet pan liners.  You can see how easy they are to clean up and you hardly have to wash the bulky sheet pan.  These liners make baking cookies, roasting vegetables or making a one sheet meal very easy.  After baking the eggplant, the skin was easily removed. I did a quick chop and moved them to a glass pan.

Here is a "before" photo of the silicon baking liner.

Here is an "after" photo, very little mess!

Jean's timing for how long to cook the shrimp and fish was spot on for the size of shrimp and fish that I had.  Her technique to keep the shrimp and fish under foil allowed the proteins to "rest" while I moved on to make the vegetable broth and orzo.

Let's talk about fish bones.  There were a lot of bones in the Alaskan Black Cod.  The important thing it to make sure you get them all out.  I tried to remove them before cooking the fish with pliers, but I would have really mangled up the fish.  What I did was remove the bones after the fish was cooked and before I dished it up for the soup. There is probably a better technique to remove fish bones - readers please do comment if you know one!

Cooking the shrimp and fish separately, allowed me to monitor the cooking times.

I grabbed my dutch oven, turned the stove on medium heat and added olive oil to the pan. I added the chopped celery and onion. Waiting to add garlic till after the celery and onions were soft, was a good trick and helped keep me from burning the garlic. I poured in the vegetable broth and started to make the orzo in a separate small soup pan.  The orzo could have easily been just cooked in the vegetable broth - as it is a pasta and cooks pretty fast.  If you are planning to have leftovers, I would keep the orzo separate so it doesn't get mushy the next day.

After the vegetable broth simmered, I ladled the broth in a bowl and piled on the shrimp, fish, eggplant, a handful spinach and topped it with cooked orzo and some diced scallions.

I definitely recommend this recipe as it tastes great! It was super easy to make and approved by a person who loves to cook!

I liked just piling on the shrimp, fish, orzo, and spinach.  I also added some chopped scallions.


Note: This takes about 1 hour to complete, and according to Jean tastes even better the next day.

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 small Japanese eggplants, cut in half
1/2 pound of halibut or other mild white fish, without skin
1 pound of wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 T Cajun seasoning, such as Emeril's, recipe to follow
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 stalks celery, 1/4" dice
1/2 red onion, 1/2" dice
2 T garlic, minced
1/2 bunch fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place eggplant cut side down on baking sheet. Coat lightly with olive oil. Bake until skin is lightly charred, approximately 15 minutes. Cover with foil for 10 minutes, then peel and cut into 1/2" cubes. Place in glass dish.

Meantime, lightly oil both sides of fish and coat with Cajun seasoning. Heat 2 T olive oil in heavy saucepan. Add shrimp and cook until pink, turning once, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove to dish with eggplant and cover with foil to keep warm. Add 2 T olive oil and heat. Add fish and cook about 2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Remove and place in the dish with the shrimp and eggplant.

Add 4 T olive oil and heat. Add celery and onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, taking care not to brown. Add vegetable broth and scrape bottom of pan to incorporate seasoning. Bring to low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add shrimp, fish, eggplant and spinach, along with salt and pepper.

May serve alone or over orzo. If using orzo, add 1/2 cup orzo to simmering broth before adding shrimp, etc. cooking for 8 minutes.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning): 

2 1/2 T paprika
2 T salt
2 T garlic powder
1 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T onion powder
1 T cayenne pepper
1 T dried oregano
1 1/2 T dried thyme

Combine. Shake to mix. This can be kept in a jar and stored in the pantry.

Friends, please send me your favorite recipes that:

  1. Tastes good
  2. Are easy to make
  3. Approved by a person who loves to cook

Thank you, Jean, for sending me this recipe!

FYI, Since my last post, I have learned how to turn on comments! So please add comments and I will respond to them.

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