Food, glorious seafood, that's my motto. There is something splendidly luxurious about seafood. Maybe it's because we are so used to it being one of the pricier things we can eat, at least back in the UK. I don't know about you, but I always feel like I'm on holiday when I'm eating it. I imagine I'm in Marseille, sitting in a little restaurant overlooking the marina, chatting to some French friends, and watching the world go by as the boats bob around in the evening sun. You didn't know I was such a romantic, did you?
Talking of romantic, this is not a dish to eat before you get close to anyone. Unless of course he or she has been eating it as well. There is a lot of garlic involved and you do need it to add that certain oomph to the dish.
Of course, the actual seafood is not set in stone. If you prefer lobster tails, then throw some of those in, or if you like fewer ingredients than I have here then feel free to take some off. Cooking is all about flexibility and taste, and I am not a dictator (even a benign one) so will not be telling you what you can and cannot do. Up to a point, obviously, there are certain rules you need to follow, Arab Spring or no Arab Spring.
Such as, you need to read my column every week and tell all your friends how marvellous I am. And obviously if you do choose to go out of an evening, then pick one of my eateries. And as already stated, you need to add all the garlic as specified, even if you will smell like a Spanish waiter for a few days afterwards. And don't scrimp on the basil either - it adds a lovely freshness. Believe me, the recipe might look daunting but it will be worth it. Marseille here we come...
This dish is offered at Frankie's Restaurant & Bar, which features Friday Brunch alongside the new CuiScene restaurant. Call 02 654 3238 or email email@example.com
Make it yourself
Traditional Mediterranean seafood soup with basil and garlic croutons
25ml olive oil
4 garlic cloves (2 minced, 2 whole)
2 fresh red chillis, sliced
1kg whole shrimps, peeled and deveined
250g red snapper filet cut into 1cm cubes 800g tomato pulp in tin
1 small bunch basil leaves
250 calamari cut into rings
36pcs baguette slices
1 tsp black pepper
1. Heat the oil with the 2 minced garlic cloves and the chillis on medium in a large pot. When they start to fry add the clams, mussels and shrimps.
2. Cook for two minutes. Add the red snapper cubes and cook for one more minute.
3. Add the tomato, water and two-thirds of the basil leaves. Simmer for one minute, add the calamari rings and cook for one more minute.
4. Toast the baguette slices and brush with the 2 whole garlic cloves. Spread with finely chopped basil and drizzle with olive oil.
5. Season and serve in soup bowls with the baguette slices, a drizzle of olive oil, the rest of the basil leaves and the pepper.