I haven't diluted the soup here yet, for photographic effect (another way of saying soup was too thick).
My son Ming's favorite item at Little Italy is zuppa de mare( Italian seafood soup). At RM22/US$7 per bowl (before tax too), this is one expensive soup especially when the restaurant is just a family restaurant, not one of those 4 or 5-star places. So to the kitchen I go. The first try was not bad, but Ming thought it wasn't sour enough so on the second try I used fresh tomatoes rather than canned puree. I'm not sure how it compares with Little It's but Ming seemed to like it; he refilled twice. (I didn't ask. We are taking a breather from each other. Again.)
The seafood used must be very fresh and not frozen or the soup'll have that refrigerated food taste. Yes, I learnt my mistake.
Zuppa De Mare(6 big helpings)
600g very ripe tomatoes
2 cans (4 cups) chicken or fish stock
2 cups water
10 medium-sized prawns, shells on but dirt veins removed
8 cooked mussels and/or 1/2 cup cooked or uncooked clams
1/2 cup fresh squid rings and/or fresh scallops
1/2 cup firm boneless white fish, in 2 cm cubes
1 T finely chopped garlic
1 cup finely chopped onions
2 T tomato paste
4 T olive oil
2 dried bay leaves
1 t dried oregano
1 t salt + 1/4 t black pepper
parsley for garnish
1. Boil a small pot of water, switch off, put in the tomatoes and cover. After 1 minute, drain and peel the skins off tomatoes. Return tomatoes to pot. If you are using plum tomatoes, you don't have to remove the seeds because there usually aren't many seeds. With round tomatoes, remove seeds if you mind them. I don't. Use a potato masher and mash the tomatoes into a pulp.
2. Heat up a pot and add the olive oil. Fry the garlic and onions until soft, then add the water, stock, bay leaves, oregano and mashed tomatoes. Let soup simmer for about 20 minutes.
3. Whisk in the tomato paste, add the salt and pepper and now add the seafood except for the fish. When soup boils, add the fish. If you like the soup thinner, add some water. Season to taste. Garnish with small sprigs of parsley.