PARIS … where to start ….
The Eiffel Tower, Champs Elisee, Montmartre and Sacre Couer, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Quartier Latin, Marais … all these phenomenal sights come to mind.
But there is a Paris to discover once all the famous tourist spots are taken in and digested. Admittedly, it takes a long time to get past the initial excitement. For me, it took dozens of visits over decades before I was able to calm down and explore neighbourhood by neighbourhood, market by market, food shops, patisseries, chocolatiers and restaurants.
Paris has been my addiction since spending many weekends there as a French and Art student, dreaming in front of original paintings from Renoir, Cezanne, Monet, Pissarro, Degas. On a student budget, my culinary ventures were limited to baguettes (heaven!) and cold cuts or cheeses. And fresh sweet butter. Often with my little Fiat 850 packed with friends, the combined pocket money would just pay for gas on the 4 hour drive and for admissions to museums.
Much later now, I confess to spend a little more on delicious food from fresh markets – the variety is beyond words – or a dinner, searching for true French cuisine appreciated by the locals, made with love by the owners who won’t take shortcuts in their kitchens.
This soup recipe is inspired by one of my very favourite chefs, Bertrand Bluy whose little restaurant Les Papilles represents to me everything I love when eating out. No menu, just a three-course dinner each day of the week depending on his finds at the market in the morning. They whip up what I consider the most delicious comfort food with a sweet twist. It’s like coming home and being welcomed by a family member.
They serve a soup first, bringing the terrine to the table, so you can help yourself to it. Your plate is beautifully filled with the solid components, garnished like a painting. It is hard to eat just a little to leave room for the main course and dessert.
My velvety shrimp soup represents my memories of Les Papilles. A little Paris in a bowl.
Velvety little shrimp soup – a real treat.
- Sautee vegetables on medium heat in 2 tbsp olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Deglaze with white wine.
- Add fish, stock and potatoes. Simmer for 25 minutes until vegetables are soft.
- In the meantime heat olive oil and butter in a heavy pan, add bread cubes and stir gently until crisp.
- Add 200g shrimp to warm.
- Puree everything very fine in a food processor. Add whipping cream while processor is still running until just mixed in.
- Return soup into pot, add Pernod, salt, freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Prepare your warmed soup plates by placing the rest of the shrimp, some sour cream, fresh cilantro and warm croutons as garnish in the base.
- Gently ladle the soup from the side, surrounding your base to allow the garnish to show.
- 100g onions chopped
- 100g carrots chopped
- 100g fennel, chopped
- 100g celery root, chopped
- 150ml white wine
- 250g cod, haddock or preferred white fish, cut in pieces
- 1.5L fish or chicken stock
- 2 potatoes peeled, diced
- 200g + 100g salad shrimp
- 300g whipping cream
- 30ml Pernod or Ricard
- Sour Cream
- Fresh cilantro or baby arugula
- 2 slices white bread, torn in 1 inch pieces
- Olive oil