I would have never expected to talk about love on my blog, especially on St. Valentine’s day. As you have probably noticed, I usually tell you everything about me, you know of my goals, my dreams, my recent move a few metres from my parents’ house, you know about the cat who arrived in August and the huge white puppy who arrived yesterday (ops, I haven’t told you yet about her, surprise!). You know how much I love Tuscany, genuine food, my family, my friends… but then that’s where I draw the famous line in the sand, or in the flour.
Then Emanuela and Fabio, architects and bloggers behind Coffee Break | the italian way of design, asked me to write a guest post on St. Valentine’s day. I looked at their blog and I liked it, elegant, modern… then all that coffee convinced me, and I said to myself, take it as a challenge, see what you can do. I went to the supermarket and wandered through the aisles in a trance, I could not figure out what to cook, everything seemed obvious or not poetic at all (the first idea of a bean and farro soup was discarded immediately).
Then the idea: I had some excellent fish stock in the freezer, stashed away for Christmas when I had been too generous with the portions, made with soup fish from the Orbetello Gulf, thick and so tasteful. I was saving it for special occasions, so here’s the perfect time to use it. Love is sharing and generosity, a bowl of cuttlefish soup to be shared and eaten with two spoons. You give yourself to another human being without necessarily expecting anything in return.
Love takes time, patience and passion, just like a fish soup. Consider three hours to get a thick soup where you’ll taste all the shades of the sea. But then you realize that the taste was worth the time you waited for it to be ready, listening to the pot slowly simmering on the stove. Love is not exclusivity and isolation, just as you would imagine a soup: multiply the ingredients, add a few more tablespoons and chairs and invite your friends over. Love is daily like a soup can be, it comforts you, makes you feel good, surprises you but leaves you with a certainty in your heart. It is nourishment.
Here’s how I came to make this cuttlefish soup, a challenge also from the photographic point of view, because a chocolate cake would be certainly more palatable, but I like to push the line! And since I always cook with generosity, we had this for dinner with my family!
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 chilli pepper
- ½ glass of white wine
- 400 g of tomato purée
- 650 g of cuttlefish, already cleaned
- At least two slices of bread per person and garlic to rub them
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery
- 1 red onion
- 1 tomato
- 1 sprig of parsley
- 500 soup fish (gurnard, tub gurnard, conger eel, viper weaver)
- Make the fish broth: clean the soup fish and discard the larger heads as not to blend them.
- Chop roughly the carrot, the celery and the onion, add the soup fishes and cook them in a large pot with lightly salted water. Cook the fish for about 30 minutes until tender and flaky. Remove the largest bones and the hardest parts of the head.
- Filter the broth and set it aside.
- Take about 1 litre of broth, add the fish flesh, the bones and the soft heads and blend everything with an immersion blender or pass it through a food mill. Set aside.
- Make the cuttlefish soup now. In a large pot pour extra virgin olive oil, a chilli pepper and the finely chopped garlic. Cook for a few minutes until soft and golden, then add the cuttlefish cut into small pieces, stir and cook on very low flame with a lid for about 45 minutes, checking occasionally, until tender.
- Pour in half glass of white wine, the fresh tomato purée and a 4 ladles of fish broth.
- Simmer gently for at least one hour and season with salt and chili pepper.
- Toast the bread and rub it with a clove of garlic, arrange it at the bottom of each dish and pour a few ladles of soup over the bread.