After you’re done with your fair share of franks this week, it might be nice to have a dinner that doesn’t involve a squeeze bottle and buns.
For the past few days, I’ve been on the south fork of Long Island, cooking up some summer soups, perfect for a light dinner or lunch. My favorite thus far is a tomato based seafood broth with clams and skate.*
After sweating onions, celery, carrots and garlic in olive oil, I add some spoonfuls of prepared spicy arrabiata sauce, chicken stock and clam juice to the vegetables.
Next in the pot, a few dozen littleneck clams and some portioned filets of skate. Once your clams open and the skate becomes opaque, season to taste with salt and pepper and finish with some freshly chopped parsley. It’s that easy.
SUMMER SEAFOOD SOUP WITH LITTLENECK
CLAMS AND SKATE
Serves 6 to 8 as appetizer or 4 to 6 as a light lunch.
3 Tbsps. good quality olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup prepared spicy arrabiata sauce (I used Rao’s)
1 small jar clam juice
4 cups homemade or store bought chicken stock
2 dozen littleneck clams, washed and scrubbed
6 skate filets, 4 to 6 ozs. each, cut along the grain in 2 inch pieces.
freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
fresh bread, for serving
In a large soup pot, sweat the onion, carrot and celery until translucent. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the arrabiata sauce, clam juice and chicken stock. Bring to a light boil. Add the clams and cover the pot. Cook for about 2 minutes over medium high heat, then check to see if the clams have opened. If not, cover again and continue to simmer until all or most of the clams have opened. Discard any that haven’t.
Add the skate to the broth making sure the fish is submerged in liquid, turn off the heat and close the lid.
Open after 10 minutes. The fish should be completely opaque but still moist and tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in individual soup bowls. Garnish with chopped parsley and some torn fresh bread for dipping.
Cook’s Note: Skate is a type of ray that’s often prepared by dusting in flour and quickly pan frying. It’s sweet, delicate taste and uniquely striated flesh make it a moist, flavorful fish. Unfortunately, it often gets overlooked at the fish counter due to its unusual character. Extremely affordable, tasty and definitely worth a try.