I know you’re here for the soup– but first, let’s talk about beer.
I drank a lot of beer when I lived in Munich for a summer, and really enjoyed nerding out about how the beers were made. It was cool to experience what local variations did to the beer, and the cultures built upon its consumption–and lucky for me I came home to the craft beer explosion in America.
So how does all this relate to this soup? Color. I learned that high society in central Europe preferred golden beers like lagers, and pilsners–and of course they needed special crystal glasses to show the color off to everyone while they drank it…it was a different time. I just laughed all the stories off, and asked for more beer.
Recently, though, I’ve realized that I’m doing the same thing with plating. To an extent, we’re all a little obsessed with the way our food tastes, and looks. It’s equal parts sustenance and exhibition. I was trying to tap into that old high-class obsession with all gold everything— I mean, everything being golden. Why not make a “golden” soup, and fill it will a bunch of seafood to push it over the edge?
I’ve seen people putting gold foil on random foods…but I’m not going there. Instead, I used a bunch of turmeric, saffron, lemongrass, and ginger. I made a stock out of the shrimp shells–because I don’t like to waste them–added in the herbs, spices, and aromatics, and let it simmer until the shells turned translucent, and gave up all their flavor.
I seared some shrimp, scallops, and calamari rings in the wok, added the stock, and served it over rice noodles. This was seriously the best soup I’ve made in a long time–maybe all the random connections my brain makes are useful after all…
1lb Shell-On Shrimp
1 lb Scallops, halved
1 lb Calamari Rings
2 Stalks of Lemongrass
2 Cups Spinach
1 Lime, juiced
1 Bell Pepper, sliced thinly
1 Tbs Ginger, sliced thinly
4 Cloves of Garlic, sliced thinly
1 Shallot, sliced thinly
1 Serrano Chili
1 Tbs Turmeric
1 Tsp Coriander Powder
1 Tsp Paprika
1 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tsp Onion Powder
3-4 Saffron Threads
1 Package of Rice Vermicelli Noodles
1/2 Tsp Sesame Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Peel the shrimp, and transfer all heads and shells to a small pot. As sliced ginger, garlic, lemongrass, chilies, and spices to the pot, and sautee until fragrant. Top with water, and lower the heat to medium to simmer. Add sesame oil, and saffron and hold at a low boil
- Pat all the seafood with paper towel to dry, then season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Sear everything in batches on med-high heat in a separate pot, then remove from the heat, and set aside.
- Boil 4-6 cups of water in a separate pot, and salt generously. Cook rice noodles for 3-4 minutes, or until they are soft and flexible. Drain then, then drizzle with a small amount of oil to discourage sticking.
- Transfer the hot stock to the searing pot, and bring to a boil. Add peppers, spinach, and soy sauce, then taste for seasoning. Add the seafood back to finish cooking.
- Serve the hot soup over noodles.