Buenos Aires – Safe and sound back home yesterday there was just no way we were headed out again. Besides it was still windy, cold, and wet. A bowl of hot, steaming soup sounded like just the ticket, so quickly around the corner to the fish market and the vegetable stand and back into the kitchen. I went very simple, and sometimes, those kind of soups just turn out the best!
Whenever I sit with a bowl of soup before me, listening to the murmur that penetrates like the distant song of an insect, lost in contemplation of the flavours to come, I feel as if I were being drawn into a trance.
– Junichiro Tanizaki, Japanese novelist, In Praise of Shadows
4 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped thai basil
2 potatoes, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups of chopped, mixed shellfish (out of their shells)
salt to taste
Saute the onions and garlic in the oil and butter, with a pinch of salt, until soft. Add potatoes, zucchini, and the herbs and continue sauteing for another five minutes. Add stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through. Add the shellfish and cook just 1-2 minutes, until just barely cooked. Add salt to taste and serve.
Note: In this particular case, the fishmarket only had large squid and some mussels. I skinned, cleaned and sliced the squid into a julienne. The mussels, I put in a separate pot and steamed just enough to get them to open, then scooped those that opened out of the shell, discarding those that didn’t open. But you could use any combination of shellfish and/or fish that you happen to be able to get your hands on. You can also substitute regular basil for the thai basil – it will have a different flavor but will still be delicious!