Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fish Soup and Two Wines

I made my best fish soup ever on Sunday. I've been working on this for two years now, but it's finally right. This soup lives and dies by the quality of the fish stock. Sure, I've learned to fine tune a few things through trial and error. Shallots work best, for example, no onion or garlic in the soup. Some finely teeny tiny chopped parsley stems are quite nice, about 3 good canned plum tomatoes crushed by hand are better than tomato paste, and keeping it simple is the way to go with the finished soup - just a few clams and chunks of flounder or blackfish. And a shot glass of cooked fregola pasta is all that's needed in each bowl of soup - no more than that. But in the end it's about the stock. It is impossible to make this soup without good fish stock. And I'm telling you, I've got it now. You don't believe me - take a look at this:

Funny to look back at the first time I wrote about making fish stock. You can tell from the very beginning that economic times were quite different in December of 2006. Anyway, During the last two nights of dinner, we discovered that this

is delicious and pairs beautifully with the soup. It is a rich and full bodied Chablis, with telltale aromas of iodine and sharp citrus fruit. Incredibly pure and balanced, just a joy to drink. Then on the second night, we discovered that this

although not quite as majestic of a wine, and at less than half of the price, is an even better pairing with my fish soup. Taut, balanced, ripe, saline, very giving at this stage of its life. I guess these things become cliché for a reason.


Do Bianchi said...

That looks so good, man. And the pairings take it over the top. Thanks for the kind shout-out in the cellar-worthy post. The PdB 04 is starting to shut down now but will surely reward those who can wait!

Lyle Fass said...

Two great wines.

I think Rosette 06 is stunning. I last tasted it in February at La Dive Bouteille and really should bring home a bottle. Even if the vintage is a little "fat" as many have attested still some good white burgs were made. This is one of them.

I haven't had '07 Briords yet. Need to change that soon. And I'm surrounded by the stuff!

Anonymous said...

Your fish soup looks amazing!
But I have to say, as much as I really like those two wines you picked, I just dont see how they can stand up to all of the bitterness of fish soup... shallots, parsley stems, tomatoes.

Anonymous said...

I sort of regret writing the above, because I like your blog and don’t want to sound like a jerk. And I realize that taste is subjective, personal, etc.
I really like fish soup. And I really like those wines. Just not together. I guess it is my training as sommellier that makes me always want to explain WHY things go together, what a dish needs, and what goes on in your mouth as you taste certain things.
I would hope that our having blogs would indicate a certain open-ness to receiving comments-both positive and contructively critical. Or that at least this second comment would make that clear from my part.

Brooklynguy said...

my pleasure jeremy. and i think i can wait.

i'm interested to hear your reaction to the 07 briords lyle, in the context of the past several vintages too.

salty - it was clear from what you wrote that you were simply having a conversation and sharing your ideas, and that, along with entertainment, is the point of this. your thoughts are always welcome and you shouldn't ever feel like you have to edit or apologize for them. you always share them with common respect, so no worries.

as to the comment: i hear you. blackfish makes a very sweet soup stock - they eat clams and shellfish, and their flesh is honestly sweet. the soup is pretty well balanced in that way, it's not at all a bitter soup. these wines worked pretty well. what were you thinking of recommending?

Anonymous said...


Well, the thing is, even if the fish, clams and shellfish are sweet, your recipe calls for a lot of intrinsically bitter things like tomatoes, parsley and shallots. When I say bitter, it is not negative; it’s just the dominant taste tendency. For me these things scream out for tannins to balance out.

The Chablis and Muscadet are- as you accurately described them- very pure and clean and wonderful, but I just don’t see them having the kind of bitter (tannic) backbone to stand up to a soup that has so many bitter ingredients.

I wish I could taste your soup. I think I would have a red from Provence with it.

Brooklynguy said...

a provence red...that actually sounds good. seems like it would be too heavy, but maybe it would work. next time i'll try it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not Lyle, but I just had the 2007 Briords. As usual, I loved it, but it's quite a bit different from the past few versions. It's a bit slimmer than the past two years' examples, presenting a more classical frame, without the chiseled zip or intensity of 2004 or 2002. I don't think it is as great or will last as long as those two latter vintages, but it is very accessible now, certainly delicious over the medium term, and, who knows, maybe longer?


Brooklynguy said...

i agree totally cliff - delicious now, and for the next few years at least.

Term Papers said...

Fish Soup and Two Wines...Sounds yummy, pretty short INGREDIENTS, Great taste You make it pretty easy, and yummy, And it is helpful that you share the recipe, I will try at home.

Term papers