When your down with a cold or sick with the flu, there is no better way to lift your spirits and make you feel better than a big bowl of minestrone, the classic Italian soup filled with good revitalizing vegetables. In this healthy dinner recipe, minestrone is cooked with red mullet fillets and fresh pasta noodles for a complete and satisfying meal that will bring warmth to your home during cold rainy days. While essentially rustic, fish recipes version for the traditionally peasant soup makes use of saffron to give the soup an exquisite flavor. It also makes use of Pistou sauce—made from garlic, basil, and olive oil—to give the dish a Provencal character.
Originally, the ingredients used in minestrone are whatever vegetables are in season, thrown together in a pot, together with a combination of leftovers. The dish is meant to be easy, nutritious, convenient, inexpensive, and filling. Today, there are thousands of versions of the well-loved soup and there is no strict standard or recipe in making it. There are, however, delicious minestrone and awful minestrone, usually the ones served in school cafeterias and those that come in cans. From the Italian root word minestra, which means chunky soup or big soup, the essence of delicious minestrone is the variety of flavorful ingredients that meld together in one hot bowl. Different colors, textures, and aromas fill the senses, providing an invigorating experience.
Ingredients: 6 red mullets, 5/6 cup pure cold-pressed olive oil, 6 tomatoes, 1 carrot, 1 potato, 1 zucchini, 1.76 oz., fresh pasta,
For fish fumet (stock): salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped olives, olive oil, pistou sauce, saffron
Boil the tomatoes for 10 seconds. Immediately place them in ice-water and remove their skins. Cut the tomatoes in quarters and remove the seeds. Place the tomato slices on an oven-proof plate with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and laurel. Bake in a 190 degree F. oven for 4 hours. Using tweezers, remove the bones from the red mullet fillets. Chop the zucchini, carrot, and potato to create a vegetable medley. Cook the zucchini and carrot pieces in fish fumet (stock) and the potato in a saffron fumet. Cook the fresh pasta al dente (so it’s still a little firm). Add the chopped olives, vegetables, preserved tomato, and some pistou sauce. Adjust the seasoning. Place the red mullet fillets in the pan with olive oil, skin-side facing down. Cook each side. Remove from the pan and place them on a sheet of paper or cloth to absorb the excess oil. Place the vegetables in the middle of the serving dish and the red mullet fillets around them. Pour the reduced fish fumet, bound with the red mullet liver, over the serving dish.
Healthy and low in fat, this recipe for minestrone is recommended for those who are watching their weight or are on a diet. It provides a considerable amount of nutrients while only containing few calories. The delicately flavored red mullet is best enjoyed during the summer. Combined with fresh pasta and a heap of vegetables, the natural sweetness of the fish is enhanced. Spiced with saffron and pistou sauce, this minestrone dish is something else.