This wonderful soup from Tuscany caught my attention when I was watching a video on youtube by the very competent folks from America’s Test Kitchen. These people know what they are doing! Here is the link if you want to avoid my droning 🙂

The soup, which is vegetarian and could probably be vegan, is a great example of Italian or Tuscan ingenuity when using products available to the citizens there.

First, one needs to make a sofrito: In my case (and I halved the recipe on America’s Test Kitchen) I used three short stalks about 4 inches long of celery, 1 medium onion and 2 cloves of garlic. I pulsed these vegetables in a food processor until they were very small and slowly fried them and 1/2 tsp chili flakes in some olive oil until they produced an aromatic fond on the bottom of the pot, about 10 minutes. I pulsed a can of tomatoes without their skins until they were also very small, but not smooth. This tomato puree was added to the pot next and stirred from time to time until reduced enough to show a line when going through the pot with a wooden spoon.

Next, I added a jar (450 ml) of chicken broth and some rind from a piece of Pecorino Romano. I understand the original recipe used water, and I’m sure it would also work 🙂 Right after the chicken broth was added, I cut fennel fronds from a bulb and set them aside. Then I diced the bulb in 1/2 inch pieces and added that to the pot for 10 minutes.

After that, I chopped parsley to make a quarter cup and added it to the fennel fronds. The last herb to be added was oregano. The video recommends fresh oregano, but I came up empty today and used some Mexican oregano I recently purchased. It worked very well.

After that, I added half a head of escarole (Endiviensalat in German). It is slightly bitter and is usually served as a salad in Germany, with a mustard based dressing as a favorite. I chopped this salad into 1 inch squares, washed it well and added it to the pot. Along with the escarole, I added the canellini beans (from a can), reserving the liquid and mixing an egg yolk with it, to thicken the soup later on. After another 10 minutes, the escarole was done and I added the egg mixture, turned off the heat and added the herbs.

To finish the dish, I toasted a piece of rye bread and placed it at the bottom of the soup plate. The original recipe uses stale bread and olive oil, but this was the best I could do.

Then, I ladled some soup over the bread and topped it with some grated Pecorino. Wow!

This soup was one of the best soups I have ever eaten, I couldn’t stop at one and ate another plate right after the first one. With the second plate, I remembered the video recommended some lemon juice and I added some. It made the dish even better.

This soup is easy to make, inexpensive and quick (40 minutes).

You will need:

  • 1 stalk of celery, in half inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • some fennel fronds
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1 escarole
  • 1 can of canellini beans
  • egg yolk/bean fluid
  • 1 rind of Pecorino
  • some grated Pecorino
  • stale bread/olive oil

Heilbutt Kartoffelsalat

Ich hatte Lust auf Kartoffelsalat, aber keine Lust einzukaufen. Auch wollte ich irgendwie Fisch, aber auch da war ich zu faul über die Strasse zu gehen…

Beim Nachdenken fielen mir Elemente ein, die ich hatte und mit denen ich Fisch und Kartoffelsalat machen könnte.

Die Elemente:

1 Heilbuttfilet im Froster/ frozen halibut filet

Butter/ butter

Kartoffeln/ salad potatoes

Frühlingszwiebel/ scallions

Gurke vom Biogarten/ organic cucumber

3 Stangen Sellerie/ 3 celery stalks

Apfelessig/ cider vinegar

Rapsöl/canola oil

Senf/mild mustard

Speck/ bacon lardons

Die Kartoffeln wurden mit Schale über 30 Minuten gekocht, weil zwei sehr große dabei waren. Danach wurden die in kaltem Wasser schnell ausgekühlt und anschliessend geschält.

Frühlingszwiebel, Selleriestangen und Gurke wurden in dünne Scheiben geschnitten und beiseite gestellt. Der Speck wurde knackig angebraten und abgetropft.

Essig, Salz, Pfeffer und Senf wird gemischt und dann mit dem Öl aufgeschlagen. Mischungsverhältnis Essig/Öl ist 1:3.

Das Heilbuttfilet hab ich mehliert und in brauner Butter (Nussbutter) angebraten (deshalb sieht es auch paniert aus, ist es aber nicht).

Nach dem Foto hab ich noch großzügig Zitrone über das Filet gegeben.

Es hat geschmeckt wie ein richtig guter Freitag! 🙂

I felt like having potato salad, but didn’t feel like going shopping. I also wanted some fish, and there is an Italian fishmonger across the street, but I just didn’t have the energy…

Thinking about my future meal, I saw the available elements to make my meal before my mind’s eye. (The above list)

I cooked the salad potatoes in their skins for about 30 minutes, because there were two pretty large specimens among them. When they were done, I cooled them quickly in cold water before peeling and slicing them.

I cut the scallions, the celery stalks and the cucumber into thin slices and set them aside. The bacon lardons were fried until crispy, then placed on a paper towel to drain.

Then I made the potato salad dressing from 2 Tbs cider vinegar, 1 Tbs mild mustard, salt and pepper, combining these ingredients and making sure the salt dissolved in the vinegar mix. Now 6 Tbs of canola oil were incorporated into the fluid using a whisk and making an aerated emulsion.

The sliced potatoes and all the other sliced vegetables and the bacon were added and mixed. This is not an original german potato salad, BUT it was great! The vegetables offered a special crunch and the celery imparted extra flavor.

My last task was to dredge the halibut through flour after I seasoned it, put a generous knob of butter into a hot frying pan and letting it brown (for nut butter or beurre noisette) and to fry the filet in just 3 minutes on each side.

After taking the picture I drizzled the fish with the lemon 🙂

It tasted like a really good friday! (pardon the pun 🙂  )


Heilbutt Kartoffelsalat 1


Heilbutt Kartoffelsalat 2


Heilbutt Kartoffelsalat 3