David Dodd 2:53 a.m., May 21
SOPA SIETE MARES (Baja’s 7 seas soup)
La Cocina Mexicana or ‘the Mexican Kitchen’ sits at the very heart of Baja culture. The family remains supreme throughout Mexico, and it is the kitchen that fuels the family.
Although larger cities like Tijuana, Ensenada, La Paz and Cabo San Lucas offer the more typically modern grocery stores that most Americans have become used to, a majority of the people living throughout Baja rely on the small farmer’s markets, fish stands and produce carts available in almost every poblado to supply their daily household needs.
Because Baja California is almost entirely surrounded by the ocean, most of its residents also depend heavily upon edible treasures from the sea to supplement their diets. Here is a delicious version of one of the popular soups south of the border …Sopa Siete Mare.
This quintessential soup of the Baja peninsula has almost as many versions as there are poblados in both Baja Norte and Sur. Feel free to adjust these ingredients and seasonings to suit your own personal taste …everyone else does!
Ingredients: 4 quarts fish or shellfish broth 1 large bunch of fresh cilantro 2 teaspoons salt 1 Tbsp brown or raw sugar 14 large (18 medium) shrimp, heads on 5 small potatoes, boiled and diced 2 cups diced chayote squash (zucchini can also be substituted) 4 medium onions, finely minced 1 kilo of fresh, well scrubbed clams, mussels or a combination of both 1 kilo of boneless, skinless white fish fillet such as rock cod, sea bass or halibut
Method: Combine ingredients a bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes before adding the strained base mixture. Continue to cook over medium heat for 45 minutes while stirring occasionally. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Add the potatoes to the hot broth. Simmer uncovered until the potatoes are nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for 3 minutes. Add the mussels or clams and simmer until the shellfish open, then add the fish cubes before stirring in the shrimp. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Garnish with chopped white onions, minced cilantro and lime wedges. Enjoy with fresh, warm tortillas.