Thomas and André’s cod fish soup with roasted and fermented vegetables & pretzels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas and André’s cod fish soup with roasted and fermented vegetables & pretzels

For 4 people

 

Fish soup base

1 liter fish stock
50 g tomato purée
1 chili
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
25 g 38% creme fraiche
25 g egg yolks
Vegetable oil

Finely mince the chili and garlic. Then, in a medium sized pot, preheated on the stove, sauté the chili, garlic, tomato pure and smoked paprika in a bit of the vegetable oil until they become aromatic and toasty. Add the fish stock to deglaze the pot, and then turn the heat down to a simmer, letting it reduce a little bit. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the crème fraiche and egg yolks until well combined, then, pouring in a steady stream, whisk that mixture into the warm soup base. The egg yolks and creme fraiche will thicken the soup and give it an unctuous and creamy texture.

 

Cod fish

200 g cod filets
40 g fermented greens
2 tomatoes
10 g tomato purée
½ a chili
1 clove garlic
20 g parsley
1 lemon
salt/pepper to taste

The fermented greens can consist of anything you have on hand, be they leftovers from the fridge like radish tops or wilting scallion greens, just season the greens in manageable pieces with 4% of their weight in salt, pack them tightly into a jar, weigh them down and let it sit out on your counter for a few days to sour. We’ve used mustard greens for this recipe. (But even then, this filling works great with sauerkraut.)

Once you know what you’re doing for the greens, preheat your oven to 200°C. Remove the skin from the cod filets and cut the fish in to small chunks, roughly 3 x 3 cm in size. Place the tomatoes, garlic and chili in an oven proof fry pan and roast them in the oven until caramelized, which should take roughly 20 minutes. Blend the fermented greens, tomato purée, tomatoes, chili, garlic and parsley to a paste with a hand blender (if you don’t have one, mince it finely on a cutting board to get close). Season the mixture with salt, pepper and lemon juice and the zest of ½ a lemon. Mix the paste with the diced cod and set it aside in a bowl in the fridge for 1 hour to set up.

 

Roasted vegetables and zucchini cream

2 heads fennel
5 scallions
½ a zucchini
1 leek
2 white onions, peeled
½ a head of celeriac, peeled
2 big handfuls kale
Thyme
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
1 lemon
Smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Wash all the vegetables before you start cutting them up.

Dice the celeriac, fennel, scallions, leek and onions into bite sized pieces (roughly 1½ x 1½ cm squares). Marinate the diced veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper then place them in an oven proof pan or baking tray and roast them in the oven until tender about 20-30 minutes.

Tear the kale in to largeish pieces, and once the roasting vegetables are done cooking, mix the kale through the pan fresh out of the oven; the heat from the vegetables will gently cook the kale and wilt it. Turn down the oven to 160°C, and bake the zucchini in 1 large piece for 1 hour. Once cooked, while still hot, blend the zucchini to a purée, and season it with salt, pepper, lemon juice and smoked paprika.

 

Pretzels

567 g OO flour
317 g warm water
7 g fresh yeast
12 g salt
28 g softened butter
4% lye solution (1 L of water with 40 g of lye dissolved in it, be careful!)
Coarse salt

In a large mixing bowl, crumble the yeast into the warm water and stir to dissolve. Add the flour and salt to the liquid and knead until all the dry bits have been absorbed. Add the butter and continue to knead until you achieve a silky, smooth dough that cleans the sides of the bowl.  Moisten a kitchen towel and cover the bowl to let the dough rise in a warm corner of space for 30-45 minutes. Portion the dough into appropriately sized balls and let them rest on the counter for 15 minutes.  Shape the portions either into a pretzel form, by rolling the balls into a snake with the palm of your hands and looping them, or whatever other shape you’d like (they even great as dinner rolls).

Transfer then to a lined baking tray and refrigerate them uncovered for at least 1 hour but no more than 4. Take the time now to preheat the oven to 240°C. Once rested, remove the pretzels from the fridge.  Carefully dip each pretzel into the lye solution for 8 seconds (please use gloves when working with this this concentration).

Remove and shake off any excess liquid before placing the pretzels back onto your lined baking sheet. Depending on the form you shaped, now would be the time to score or snip your pretzels. Sprinkle their tops with coarse salt and bake them for 10-15 minutes, or until the pretzels are burnished brown. Remove them from the oven and rest them on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

 

To serve

Put your fish mix and vegetables into a pot of the cold soup base and gently heat it up over medium heat to a simmer. Adjust the soup’s seasoning with salt and acidity with lemon juice. In heating up the soup, you’ve already started the cooking of the fish, and once it’s up to a boil it will be cooked through, so there’s no need to cook it any more than that. Portion the soup into bowls and serve with a side dish of the warm pretzels and a healthy dollop of the zucchini cream.