Easy Fish Soup/Stew with Potatoes and Crunchy Garlic Toasts, a fast easy fish soup with mussels using any firm white fish. Crunchy garlic toasts are the final touch.
For the Mussels and their broth
Scrub and de-beard the mussels ( the string that is attached to the mussel from the inside needs to be delicately pulled off, if you pull too hard you will damage the live mussel inside).
In a skillet with a lid, large enough to hold the mussels, add the olive oil, hot pepper and garlic, heat the oil until the garlic is lightly brown, Carefully add the mussels, pour the wine over the mussels, on a medium high heat, cover with the lid and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the mussels open, stirring once. Let the mussels cool.
Remove the mussels from their shell place in a bowl.and discard the shell. The broth or liquid that remains retain.
Using a strainer lined with paper towel, pour the liquid through the paper towel and strainer, catching the filtered liquid in another bowl, it should yield between, 1 to 2 cups of liquid. This broth will be added to your soup.
For the Soup/Stew base
Clean quarter the leeks lengthwise, slice the leeks. Cut the fennel into quarters and thinly slice. Clean and cut the celery in four strips, the chop
In a wide bottom soup pot, add crushed garlic, olive oil and hot pepper cut into small pieces ( if using fresh). On a medium low heat, lightly brown the garlic. Add the fennel, leeks and celery to the pot,cook until the vegetable soften, about 10 minutes
Add the saffron (optional) mix well, pour in the wine, the tomatoes, the mussel broth and the vegetable or chicken broth. Add the potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking for at least 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. Add fresh thyme (to taste)
Add the firm white fish and the mussels. Cook another 10 minutes until the fish becomes an opaque white. Adjust seasoning, salt and pepper.
For the garlic toasts
Cut the bread into slices, place on a baking sheet
Fill a small prep bowl with olive oil, crush garlic (to taste) into the oil with a pastry brush, brush the top side of the bread.
Place the bread under the broiler, be very careful not to burnt the bread do not leave the bread unattended. Turn the bread and brown the other side.
Serve the Soup/Stew with the garlic toast