“Cacciucco alla Livornese” or Fish Soup, Livorno Style
Here is a recipe that tastes like the Mediterranean and speaks Tuscan, the mother language of Italian, thanks to Dante’s influence.
This soup, originally from the coastal town of Livorno (or Leighorn, as the British named it), has become a national dish. It is generally very peppery and is made with inexpensive fish, which add to the rich flavor, but may make it boney. A variety of large and small fish and a few shrimp are essential.
4 lb mixed fish and shellfish, such as sole, red mullet, dogfish and shrimp….
3 tbs. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Clean the fish and peel the shrimp. Discard the heads and tails of the larger fish, and cut into thick slices. Leave the small fish whole.
In a shallow saucepan over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and water and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add the fish and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook at a gently simmer for about 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Toast the bread until golden. Place a slice of toast in each of 6 soup bowls and sprinkle each with a little of the parsley.
Divide the hot soup and fish pieces among the bowls. Serve immediately.