Gently spiced with ginger, lemongrass, and star anise, this pepper pot soup is both warming and light. Recipe adapted, with permission, from Nina Compton.
Caribbean Seafood Pepper Pot
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 navel orange, zested and juiced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 4 (6-ounce) grouper fillets
- ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 (¼-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 (1-inch) piece lemongrass, smashed
- 2 cups chopped butternut squash
- Lobster Stock (recipe follows)
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Garnish: fennel fronds, fresh mint, fresh basil
- In a medium glass bowl, combine ¼ cup oil and zests. Add fish, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- In an enamel-coated cast-iron Dutch oven, cook onion, ginger, serrano, and lemongrass over medium heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add squash; cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Add Lobster Stock and coconut milk; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Let stand until slightly cooled, about 30 minutes; discard lemongrass. Using an immersion blender, purée soup until smooth. Keep soup warm.
- Remove fish from oil mixture, reserving 2 tablespoons oil mixture. In a a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, heat reserved 2 tablespoons oil mixture over medium heat. Add shallot and fennel; cook until golden brown. Stir in citrus juices and vinegar; cook until almost all juices have evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and wipe skillet clean.
- In same skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add fish; cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat; sprinkle with salt.
- To serve, ladle 1 cup soup in 4 shallow soup bowls. Place one fish fillet in each bowl, and top with vegetables. Garnish with fennel fronds, mint, and basil, if desired.
KITCHEN TIP-Nina makes her lobster stock from scratch using leftover shells. Using lobster base helps achieve a similar flavor with a little less effort. Chicken, vegetable, or another seafood stock will work as well–just be sure to steep with the spices. They add deeper flavor to the finished soup.
- 4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons lobster base
- 1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon coriander seed, crushed
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 star anise
- In a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, bring all ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain, discarding solids.