Do you have a favorite Christmas seafood tradition? We are not wired to putting down roots. Traditions escape us. We forget. Move on. We live in the vein of inventing the next tradition. Then we forget again. Like when we tried to institute a Sunday Advent celebration with our kids, inspired by our German and Norweign au pairs. Cookies and candles appearing according to the number of the Sundays. It lasted 2 years. Stepping back I can say that more likely than not, we will have some kind of fish soup. For a couple of years, it was oyster chowder. Easy - fresh picked Puget Sound oysters and whole milk with a few chives, basically. Otherwise, crab bisque, or just cracked crab with creamy tomato-red pepper soup. Mussels are so flavorful, I recall a couple years ago in December in Paris, tasting a mussel soup that had unbelievable flavor. The dusting of snow on Paris streets and the steamy windows inside the warm cafe was their secret ingredient. The ultimate of seafood soups, a Mediterranean seafood stew, fish stock flavored with orange, saffron, garlic, etc. and a variety of fish, is the most colorful and satisfying of seafood soups. I am deciding whether or not to create this for a holiday celebration this year.
One year I made this delicious scallop artichoke creamy soup. Very unusual and beautiful looking. I made enough for gifts to family members which meant lots of artichoke peeling! I was pleased to get a supply from a friend who grew them. It helps to have large tubers, or it takes forever to peel the little nobs.
Fish stock, saffron, lemon zest, milk and cream make the base.
Jerusalem artichokes, onion, scallops, sauteed in butter
chopped chives, sliced almonds, chervil or parsley to garnish
I loosely followed the recipe By Anne Sheasby in "The New Soup Bible"
Mine was chunkier. In the puree, I put no scallops and only used half of the jerusalem artichokes. With a good fish broth, I didn't think the scallops needed to be in the puree. The remaining artichokes were diced into the soup. If using large scallops, one could sear them and add to the soup with the garnish.