Some of my very best ideas spring from what’s left in the refrigerator at the end of the week; those blasted bits and pieces that aren’t enough for a meal, but I would feel guilty tossing.
I grew up being taught to clean my plate.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve totally rethought the whole “clean-your-plate” process, but guilt about throwing away absolutely good food keeps me coming up with resourceful ways to utilize the leftovers.
A few days back I had fixed cod with baby potatoes, fennel and tarragon. It was amazing, and I had hoped to feature it, but the photos only turned out so-so; the dish, however, was phenomenal. We ate the fish and some of the potatoes and fennel, not leaving much. Serendipity – in the cooking process a lovely, over-the-top broth resulted. I had thirds on the broth alone. Even after gulping broth, there were a few potatoes and broth. Enter the conundrum of a small amount of food, and that perfectly perfect broth.
What ensued was a divine stew that whispers of spring. It’s fresh, yet filling and the flavor is beyond fabulous. I do realize that you don’t have the broth-base to start with, so I recreated it.
Cod and Fennel Stew
- ½ cup each diced carrots, celery and onion
- 2 potatoes diced
- 1 small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced, save the feathery fronds
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 5 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 8 oz. cod fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons Cherry Creek Seafood Seasoning (from Savory Spice or your choice of seasoning)
- Olive oil
- Heat a large soup pot on medium heat. Rim pot with olive oil. Add the carrots, celery, onion, potatoes and fennel; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until vegetables start to wilt and caramelize.
- Stir in garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the brown bits.
- Pour in the stock; add the lemon slices, 3 sprigs of tarragon and the seafood seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
- Rough chop the fennel fronds and tarragon. Set aside.
- Add the cod pieces and continue to simmer until fish flakes, 5 to 7 minutes.
To serve: Taste for salt and pepper; ladle into bowls, top with fresh tarragon and fennel fronds.
In my house we are sans bread right now, but chewy rolls would be the bomb with this soup. I envision sopping up any remaining broth that didn’t get slurped.
Happy eating, my friends –