Some time ago, I stumbled again over my recipe for Fiskasúpa - Icelandic fish soup. It inspired me to make an new fish soup with typical autumn vegetables. This fish soup for the fall is a delicious meal soup for the chilly autumn weather. I advise to eat a fresh baguette with it.
The pumpkin: to peel or not to peel?
Before, I always used to peel the pumpkin and only used the pulp. I thought the peel would be to tough to eat. But I was wrong, nothing could be further from the truth! On cooking the peel becomes almost as tender as the pulp and will not harm your mouth at all! On the contrary, it almost dissolves completely and adds extra taste and color to your dish. The advantages?
- less work: removing the skin of the pumpkin is always a lot of work. Certainly large pumpkins are clumsy and the danger of hitting your finger with the knife is not non-existent.
- healthier and tastier: most of the flavor and vitamins are in the outer rim. So it is a shame to throw just that part away. Especially in autumn you need these vitamins to prepare for the dark winter months.
This advice is valid for the most used pumpkin types: Hokkaido (the orange one) and butternut squash (the long light yellow one).
How did I get the idea to use the pumpkins with their peel? Well, the first time I used this method was for my delicious spicy roasted pumpkin from the oven. There, the skin even caramelizes due to the herbs and it becomes super delicious. After that I naturally started to wonder why I always peel my pumpkins in other preparations. And that's the way I often do it now without this intermediate step.
Chances are you've never heard of ajvar. No problem, that was the case with me also, until a few weeks ago. I had it in my Hellofresh box a few times as an ingredient. As a hobby chef you want of course to find out about this new ingredient. If you don't find ajvar, you can also use regular tomato puree for some extra color and flavor in your soup.
Ajvar is actually a Serbian preparation based on bell pepper and eggplant. That's why it fits so well in this fresh fish soup for the fall. it matches to the taste and gives a deeper orange color to the soup. Both peppers and eggplants are abundant in the fall. They are preserved for the long winter months. They are cooked as a whole on an open fire or a grill. The bell pepper is then stripped of its seeds and skin to avoid a bitter taste. Then everything is mashed and stewed for preserving in glass jars. A lot of work, but good and you will enjoy it for a whole year.
If you speak Dutch, you can find the Dutch version of this recipe on gerechtenweb.blog.
And, one thing to know if you're not familiar with Ajvar: There are two types, basically. One is the regular Ajvar, as you descibed. The second uses peperoni freely. These are a variant of the chilis prominent in North and South America. There are brands here in Germany (one is Kattus) that make both versions. The hot one is really hot and used especially for spicy grilled meats.