An exceptional fish and seafood soup, with an herb and white wine broth, and a spoonful of spiciness swirled in before serving. --Le Domaine Restaurant & Inn Français, Hancock, Maine
4 pounds mussels
1 cup white wine for steaming
2 leeks, well washed and thinly sliced
2 onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 pounds striped bass, cut in 1-1/2-inch-thick slices
6 cups water
2 fennel branches, chopped, or 1 scant tablespoon fennel seed
1 cup dry white wine
3 two-inch pieces orange rind
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1/2 pound lobster meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound crab meat, picked over
1/2 pound cooked spaghetti
1 to 2 teaspoons Rouille Le Domaine (recipe follows)
Clean mussels. Steam them in 1 cup white wine in a large saucepan, covered, over moderately high heat, shaking the pan once or twice for 5 minutes or until the shells have opened. Discard any unopened mussels. Transfer the mussels with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and shell them, removing the black rims if desired. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve lined with a double thickness of rinsed and squeezed cheesecloth into a bowl and reserve it.
In a heavy stainless steel or enameled casserole, sauté leeks and onions in olive oil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until they are golden. Stir in tomatoes, cook the mixture for 3 minutes, and add the reserved cooking liquid, striped bass, water, fennel, wine, orange rind, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the liquid to a boil over moderately high heat and boil the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a bowl, remove and discard the bones and skin, and return the fish to the casserole.
Puree the mixture through a food mill into a large stainless steel or enameled saucepan and bring the puree to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add saffron threads and cook the puree for 5 minutes.
Stir in the mussels, lobster meat, crabmeat, and more salt and pepper to taste and simmer the soup for 5 minutes. Divide spaghetti among 6 heated bowls and ladle the soup over it. Swirl Rouille Le Domaine onto each bowl.
ROUILLE LE DOMAINE
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons milk
2 cloves garlic
2 small fresh red hot chili peppers or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
In a small bowl let bread crumbs soak in milk. With a mortar and pestle crush garlic cloves with chili peppers or cayenne, add the bread crumbs, squeezed dry, and combine the mixture well. Add olive oil in a stream, beating, and beat the mixture until creamy.