I stepped out on the porch tonight, while a rich and tomato-y broth waited for me in the kitchen, simmering away, as I finished my last sip of wine. Waiting for what, you ask? To put the fish and shrimp in, so they could poach quickly and be finished off with parsley and Pernod. I took my time on the now defunct porch, taking in all the sounds: the howl of the fire alarm siren, the distant, slow choogle of the freight trains running, the sad, quiet patter of the rain. All the lights in the distance from neighbors' porches had a fuzzy glow about them, and I breathed in the air, wet and cold, and thought, here is December. It only gets colder from here on out.
And so, I turned in to the kitchen, warm and sputtering with the shimmery red broth waiting for me to slip in the shrimp and scrod, to finish it's duty to warm our souls on this gently wintry night.
Saute chopped garlic in olive oil. Add one large diced onion, and one peeled, diced carrot. Bay leaf, please! Slowly, one quart of shrimp stock (or some fish stock). One can of peeled tomatoes. Let that business simmer for a while if you can handle it, adding some oregano, fennel, salt, red pepper flakes and ground black pepper. When it's all looking and smelling right, and you are ready to eat, ease in a half pound of shrimp (I kept them in the shells; more work and yes, messy, but more flavor) and a half pound of homely, but proud, scrod. A handful of chopped fresh parsley, a tablespoon of Pernod, if you have it, and then sit down by the fire and sup.