I’m a soup aficionado. Nothing can satisfy my hunger more than a good bowl of hot soup. And if it’s spicy, the more the better.
I like to make soup, and do it almost on a weekly basis. That’s why I rarely order soup when we go out to eat. That’s not to say thereâ€™s not a lot of good soup in restaurants. On the occasions I’ve ordered soup in the past couple of years, my experiences have been generally favorable.
My most recent opportunity to have restaurant soup came the other night at Mi Mexico in Grand Forks, a rather late supper for us because I had taken my grandson to a 5:30 p.m. hockey practice and stayed to watch. And I wasn’t disappointed.
I had decided to eat light because of the time and ordered from the seafood portion of the menu. I settled on something that was called Caldo de Quatro Mares, which translated means Four Seas Soup.
The soup was a variation of a Mexican favorite, Caldo De Siete Mares (Seven Seas Soup). Instead of having seven kinds of seafood, the Mi Mexican version had only four, but I don’t think it could have been much better. The soup featured shrimp, scallops, a type of whitefish and imitation crab. It also contained tomatoes, avocados, onion, cabbage, carrots, spices and a type of hot pepper â€” as well as a twist of lime for additional flavor.
By the time I had finished the large bowl, my brow had a little sweat on it, but nothing that would deter me from ordering the entree again. In fact, after the meal, I told the manager about my pleasurable experience.
I’m thinking about trying to replicate the soup sometime this winter, and after an extensive search on the Internet, came up with the following recipe to serve as a guideline. It’s billed as an authentic recipe from Mexican cooks..
Caldo De Siete Mares
8 cups of water
8 medium-sized tomatoes
6 stalks celery
1 medium-size white onion
1 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Knorr Tomate (Caldo de Pollo e Tomate Sabor)
10 to 12 medium-sized shrimp peeled and deveined
4 scallops cut into 1-inch pieces
2 dungeness, blue crab or snow crab claws or equivalent
Â½ pound whitefish, salmon or cod cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small octopus (tentacles only cut into Â½-inch pieces)
4 to -6 small/medium clams
1 cup seafood medley (optional)
4 to 6 limes
Tapatillo hot sauce
To make the soup stock, pour the water into a large pot. Cut and seed (remove the centers) tomatoes into Â½-inch pieces and place in pot. Crush the garlic cloves and add to soup. Add the Knorr tomate, stir and bring pot to a boil. After boil reduce heat to simmer and cook for 2 hours minimum. After cooking, put base in blender and blend for 15 to 40 seconds or until uniform texture and pour back into the pot. Chop the onion, celery, bell pepper (remove seeds) into Â¼-inch pieces, carrots into Â¼-inch slices. Add to the base stock pot and cook for 1 to 2 hours more.
When ready to serve soup, in a separate smaller pot add 2 cups of soup stock and 1 to 2 cups water. Add the clams and crab claws first and bring to boil for about 1 minute. Add the shrimp, scallops, seafood medley, fish, octopus and bring to boil. Shut off heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Pour seafood soup in large bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of ketchup and squeeze in Â½ Mexican lime and a add pinch salt. Cut up the avocado into Â½-inch pieces and add to soup.
Dice cilantro and onion into a small bowl.
Sprinkle fresh cilantro and onion into soup as you eat. Cut up limes into quarters. Warm tortilllas on a grill, toaster oven or microwave. Rub butter on tortillas, sprinkle salt and some lime and eat with the soup.
Tapatillo is optional. Be careful. It can be overpowering.