Weekend cooking project: Caldaro dell’Argentario, a Tuscan fish soup
Almost every Italian region that faces the sea has its own version of fish soup. Today I’m sharing a Tuscan fish soup from the Argentario, in Maremma
Given the difficulty of finding quality fresh fish in the Tuscan hinterland, my recipes have always been oriented towards a preference for meat and vegetables. But I felt that I was missing a part – maybe not central, but certainly relevant – of the Italian regional cuisine. So in the past few months, I’ve become more adventurous, cooking seafood that I was previously completely unaware of.
One of my favorite seafood preparations is fish soup, an emblem of coastal cucina povera.
Almost every Italian region that faces the sea has its own version, from the cacciucco from Livorno to the Ligurian buridda, from the Adriatic brodetto to the quatara from Porto Cesareo, in Salento, a soup that Tommy’s uncle prepared for us during our holidays there.
Caldaro dell’Argentario, a Tuscan fish soup
Recipe developed in collaboration with Cecchi
Today I’m sharing a Tuscan fish soup, perhaps less famous than Livorno’s cacciucco but just as tasty, the Argentario’s caldaro, which apparently could be the ancestor of cacciucco.
The recipe for caldaro dell’Argentario, today’s Tuscan fish soup, is adapted from Il vero libro della cucina marinara by Paolo Petroni, a classic seafood cookbook, with so many traditional recipes belonging to the Italian regional cuisine.
If you decide to participate in the weekend cooking project, share the results with us on social media by using the hashtag #myseasonaltable and tagging @julskitchen on Instagram. It will be a way to shorten the distance in this time of social distancing.
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More seafood recipes from the blog archive
Gnocchi alla trabaccolara. Trabaccolara is a poor man’s dish, made with the demersal fish unsold at the market. This sauce traditionally accompanies large bowls of spaghetti or linguine, but you can also use hollow short rod pasta like paccheri or mezze maniche for a nice result: the flavors of the sea mixed with tomato fill up the pasta to a lovely effect. Today I used this dressing for fresh gnocchi.
Spaghetti allo scoglio, seafood spaghetti. The seafood spaghetti, the first choice from a menu, is a dish that is often taken for granted, yet it still manages to leave a mark if well executed and made with fresh fish and high-quality pasta.
Summer octopus salad with olives and pine nuts. Octopus cooks in a pressure cooker in less than fifteen minutes. It is tender and juicy: slice it and make a salad with it, along with potatoes and a lot of garlic and parsley, or, for a more refreshing version, with green olives and pine nuts.
Stuffed squids with bread and pine nuts. Choose the smallest squids and stuff them patiently with a few simple ingredients: stale bread soaked in milk, parsley, stir-fried tentacles, and a handful of pine nuts to give flavour and a different texture. The sea taste is persistent, softened by bread and milk. Pine nuts add a surprising resinous taste: everything comes together to remind you of the balsamic air of a maritime pine forest, or of a lunch by the sea in the shade of hundred-year-old trees.
Anchovy and breadcrumb cake. Anchovy is an inexpensive, sustainable fish, a health factor for consumers of all ages. Try it in this cake with breadcrumbs, pine nuts, and parsley.
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