Tomato, Basil Fish Soup With Garlic Croutons

by Chef Lucia Watson

This delicious soup is great in winter on a cold night, or perfect in summer with fresh garden tomatoes and basil. The fish of choice may vary from delicate walleye or crappie to the more distinctive salmon or trout.

To Serve Six . . .
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 med. green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, mashed
5-6 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored
and chopped (or one 12-ounce
can diced tomatoes)
3-4 c. chicken broth (depending on
how juicy your tomatoes are)
salt and pepper
splash of balsamic vinegar
3 fish fillets, about 8 oz. each, cut into
1-inch squares (bones removed)
big handful of fresh basil,
washed and chopped croutons

In a large soup kettle, heat the olive oil. Add the celery, onion, carrot, peppers and garlic. Cook over medium heat, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, broth, salt, pepper and vinegar. Cook over medium heat another 15 minutes. Add the fish and cook 8 to 10 minutes so the fish is cooked through but not falling apart. Divide the basil into 6 bowls. Ladle the fish soup over the basil and garnish with croutons.

Garlic Croutons
Cut 1/2 loaf of french bread into small cubes. Generously drizzle with a mixture of olive oil and melted butter. Toss in some mashed garlic, spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan every few minutes until the croutons are golden brown and crisp.

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