At this time of year, a light bowl of soup can do wonders as an evening meal. This one is especially soothing, fragrant and flavorful, with the unexpected touches of sweet potato and zucchini.
The prep time is cut down from the original recipe, because you’re heading to the salad bar or refrigerated section of the produce department for the mirepoix of celery, onion and carrot. It pays to use the freshest fish you can find here, so it won't turn to mush in the broth. Depending on how much broth you serve in each portion, you might have some left over; you can strain and freeze it for later use as a seafood broth.
Ginger-Coconut Fish Soup
Adapted from “Real Paleo Fast and Easy: More Than 175 Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less,” by Loren Cordain (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015).
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger root
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup blend of chopped or shredded celery, onion and carrot (see note)
4 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth
1 large sweet potato (12 ounces)
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut, for garnish
1 pound skinned haddock, cod or halibut
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 small zucchini (about 4 ounces)
1 cup regular or low-fat coconut milk
6 large basil leaves, for garnish
Peel and mince the ginger and garlic.
Heat the coconut oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the celery, onion and carrot; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until softened, then add the ginger and garlic. Cook for minute, then pour in the broth. Increase the heat to medium-high.
While it's heating up, peel the sweet potato and cut it into 1/2-inch chunks, adding them to the pot as you go. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the coconut on a plate in the microwave on medium (50% power) for about 20 seconds or until you see some browning underneath, at the center. Microwave in a couple more 5-to-10-second increments until toasted. Cool. Cut the fish into 1-inch chunks and place them in a bowl; toss with the Chinese five-spice powder. Cut the zucchini into 4 equal sections, then cut each section into matchsticks.
Uncover the Dutch oven and add the fish and zucchini to the pot; cover and cook for about 4 minutes or until the fish just turns opaque. Uncover and stir in the coconut milk; reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
Use a slotted spoon to divide the soup solids among individual bowls, then spoon in the amount of liquid you prefer. Cut the lime into 4 wedges; squeeze one over each portion of soup, then tear the basil leaves, letting them fall on each portion. Top with some of the toasted coconut. Serve warm.
Note: To trim the prep time, get a mix of celery, onion and carrot from the supermarket salad bar.
Per serving (using low-fat coconut milk): 270 calories, 22 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 10 g sugar
Yield: 4 servings.