Magazine article Sunset

He Brings the Fish, You Have the Soup Base Boiling

Magazine article Sunset

He Brings the Fish, You Have the Soup Base Boiling

Article excerpt

He brings the fish, you have the soup base boiling

A dinner party midweek? You work all day, have little spare time, but still want to entertain? Try this seafood soup potluck supper for 8.

Planning ahead makes it run smoothy. Do your shopping early and make parsley sauce ahead (it's served as a dip for salad vegetables and to add to the soup). Invite your guests to bring some of the fish, shellfish, dessert, or wine. Divvy up light duties for everyone--helping out adds to the fun.

Walk-around Salad

Potluck Seafood Soup

Parsley Sauce

Toasted Breadsticks and Garlic Butter

Dry Red or White Wine

Vanilla Gelato with Strawberry Preserves

If you have time in the morning, set out the dishes and equipment you'll need.

For the salad, choose easy-to-clean vegetables such as bell peppers, slender carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, green onions, tender inner leaves of romaine lettuce, and fennel (buy 3 to 4 lb. total). Have a guest rinse, trim, and arrange them all on a tray.

Have another guest oversee toasting the bread; someone else can arrange the seafood on a platter, while you watch over the soup and tend the fire. In the fireplace, the fish steeps in the broth; the fire also keeps soup hot for second helpings.

Potluck Seafood Soup

2 large cans (49 oz. each) or 12 cups regular-strength chicken broth

24 small thin-skinned red potatoes (1 1/2-in. diameter, about 2 1/2 lb. total)

3 medium-size leeks, white and tender green part rinsed well and thinly sliced

10 to 12 clams suitable for steaming, scrubbed

1 lobster tail (about 3/4 lb.), meat freed from shell and cut into 1-inch cubes (optional)

1/2 to 1 pound skinned, firm-texture, white-flesh fish fillets, such as halibut, white seabass, or swordfish, cut into 1-inch cubes (if lobster is omitted, use larger amount)

1/2 pound bay scallops, rinsed well

1/2 pound medium-size shrimp (43 to 50 per lb.), shelled and deveined

1 cooked Dungeness crab (about 1 1/2 lb.), cleaned and cracked (or use another 1/2 lb. shrimp)

Parsley sprigs

2 tablespoons minced parsley

Lemon wedges, optional

In a 6- to 8-quart pan that flames won't damage, bring broth to boiling over high heat. Add potatoes and leeks; when boiling, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced, about 20 minutes. …

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