Along the Adriatic coast of Italy there are many versions of this dish. This one is my version from my region of Abruzzo. It’s not quite a soup and not cooked as a stew; we call it zuppa. Italian fish stock, called brodo, is much lighter than French. By not overworking the ingredients you get a wonderful freshness of flavour. "When I think of a coastal Italian fish dish and overlay a map of Australia, the region which best matches it for me is the Mediterranean-facing McLaren Vale. Famous for shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and grenache, it’s an increasingly exciting place for late ripening Italian varieties like Vermentino, Fiano, Sangiovese and Nero d’Avola. This means they can withstand the hot summer highs and develop delicate flavours later in the season when it has cooled a little. This almost stew/almost soup packs a flavourful punch and is quite a chunky beast. An accompanying white wine should have the freshness of a fruity, nutty white, whilst also having the medium body and texture to hold its own in the mouth. This small production gem from Oliver’s Taranga does exactly that." - Dan Coward
- ½ cup good olive oil
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- ¼ baby octopus
- 4 extra large green bug tails, halved
- 200 g firm white-fleshed fresh fish (we use barramundi)
- 8 green prawns (size U10)
- ¼ kg black mussels
- ¼ kg clams (in shells)
- 200 g Tasmanian salmon or ocean trout
- salt and pepper
- 1 whole large red chilli (optional)
- 150 ml dry white wine
- 150 ml good fish stock
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- ¼ bunch basil (torn)
- ¼ bunch continental parsley (chopped)
- ½ lemon, zested
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink Oliver’s Taranga Small Batch Fiano 2012, McLaren Vale, SA
Cover the bottom of the large pan generously with olive oil and heat. Place the garlic in the hot oil, making sure the flame is not so high as to burn the garlic, and cook to golden. Remove the garlic and set aside.
Add the octopus and fry until brown. Set aside. Add the bugs, fry for 3 minutes and set aside. Add the white fish and fry for 3 minutes, turning once or twice depending on the thickness. Set aside. Add the prawns and continue frying a further 2–3 minutes. Set aside. Add the mussels and clams, cook for a few minutes and set aside. Add the salmon and season with salt and pepper, adding chilli if desired. Add the seafood back to the pan, together with the garlic, wine and stock.
Cover and cook on a reasonably high flame so as to reduce the liquid by half. Stir gently to prevent sticking.
Add the cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley and lemon zest a few minutes before cooking is finished, to retain the freshness and fragrance of the herbs. Stir the "soup".
Serve with risoni or fregola (Sardinian couscous).