Easy and Quick Tomato Fish Soup
My dad’s mom is from New Orleans, so gumbo is a staple at my family’s house and this savory fish soup reminds me of those memorable meals. It even has the “Holy Trinity” ingredients for Creole cooking as the base: Onions, Bell Pepper, and Celery. Traditionally with green bell pepper and white onion, I used red bell pepper and purple onion, as this recipe calls for, but it smells just as delicious on the stove. The stages in which the spices combine to make your kitchen come to life give the impression that you know what you’re doing. I mean, we do. It’s just that extra boost. 😉
Since this soup does not have a roux starter like gumbo, that means waaaaay less time in the kitchen! Isn’t that what we need some days? Or all days? Even if cooking is not your forté, that doesn’t mean you can create a quality-tasting meal! (Wait. Should we call this the fisherman’s gumbo?! Mardi Gras is around the corner, so let’s start the trend!)
Food for Thought: Seafood takes no time to cook, so it’s funny how it isn’t the “go-to protein” in America. Sure, I’m a fisherman’s wife who loves seafood, so I’m biased. But quickness plus the variety of flavors and ways to prepare seafood means endless healthy and hearty meals. For example, THE FISH IN THIS SOUP COOKS FOR 3-4 MINUTES! 🤯
How to Get the Fish Smell Out of Your Home
A lot of people worry about the smell, but do not worry! I was surprised that our home DID NOT SMELL, though I prepared for it. We don’t even have a hood vent for the stove, so that’s saying something.
It turns out we did the most important thing right: used fresh, high-quality fish caught but a local fisherman.
The fish odor comes from the breakdown of acid and fat compounds, called TMA, and bacteria breakdown triggered when seafood hits the air. Getting seafood from your local fisherman is the number one way you can prevent it!
How to Prevent Fish Odor in your Home
Luckily, there are ways to avoid the fish smell in the first place with these helpful methods:
- Purchase the freshest, quality fish you can afford at the harbor, market, or grocery store.
- Rinse raw fish in cold water and pat dry before packaging.
- Some people use milk! If you soak raw fish in milk for up to twenty minutes, “the milk’s casein protein binds to the TMA and reduces odor.”
- Cook the fish lemon or vinegar. The acid reacts with the TMA to reduce the smell.
- Turn on the kitchen hood vents and open the windows while cooking.
I’ve only tried the first two options, but I would love to know how you do it!
How Do I Get Fresh Seafood If I Don’t Live Near the Water?
No problem. Let the ocean come to you.
There are many incredible wild-caught delivery programs: Try Sena Sea Seafoods, a 3rd generation salmon operation in Alaska. In our interview, Sena shares the family business and great advice. We also chatted with Fathom Seafood from Washington that you can meet here! Off the top of my head, there’s Sitka Salmon Shares and, of course, the Salmon Sisters. If you know more, please leave them in the comments below to support our peeps!
WILD-CAUGHT frozen fish is quality. There are many opinions on both sides of the fence, wild vs. farmed seafood. Besides tasting different to me, I think of all the women, men, and families behind each wild-caught catch. The pain of being away from loved ones, the lack of sleep, and the rough seas they endured to harvest the freshest seafood of our beautiful country to get to your plate. 💙
How-to Prepare and Freeze the Fish
Chris brought a chunk of Pacific sea bass home caught by a fisherman a few slips down in the Channel Islands Harbor. It was a HUGE piece, so I cut it into serving sizes, rinsed each piece, dried each piece with paper towels, then separated chunks into servings for two into freezer Ziplock bags to store in the freezer. Chris taught me this so I am passing the wisdom to you! 🙂
(🌱 ECO CHECK: Next time, we’ll use a clean rag to dry the fish, and I’ll have airtight containers ready to freeze the meat in to reduce those plastic baggies!)
How-to Thaw Frozen Fish
Around mid-day, I thawed the fish in water slightly warmer than room temperature, and it was ready in time for dinner. If you’re in a rush, replace the water every once in a while because the frozen fish makes the water cold, making it harder to defrost. (Remember, only use water that’s slightly warmer than room temp because you don’t want to cook it.)
I snapped some quick photos to share the recipe. The overhead light in the kitchen is pretty intense, and it was too dark outside to stage a picture, so my apologies; they’re not the most beautiful photos of all time. The most important part is the yummy tomato soup. Let’s cook!
The small changes I make are:
1 | I used Modena White Vinegar instead of wine, though I’m not sure the recipe needed it. I recommend adding a tiny bit at first, then taste to gauge.
2 | I sauteed the veggies slightly longer than the five minutes recommended to make sure the veggies would be soft since the soup cooks quickly.
So good, easy, and filling. It’s such a great recipe because it’s great warmed up, and the fish is mild yet hearty that, usually, everyone will eat it. Just like gumbo, it gets better with age. You can save it in the fridge for 2-3 days, and the savory spices will blend more. *When reheating, separate the fish chunks from the broth to prevent overcooking the fish. The fish will warm up when you pour the soup over it.
I’m always looking for yummy and easy dinner ideas, so please share in the comments if you have any favorites! Thanks so much for reading! Find more of my favorite recipes under “For POCFs –> home” at the top of this site. Happy cooking! 🐟
If you liked this, you’d love Easy AF Seafood Salad You Can’t Mess Up.