by Michelle

I totally get the whole ‘no other aircraft can be anywhere within a kazillion miles of Air Force One taking off or landing’. However, when it means that we miss our connection in Montreal, get put up in a fleabag motel, shlep back to the airport at the crack of dawn while freezing rain causes our shuttle bus to shimmy down the highway only to find out that our new flight is cancelled and the ‘has been on the job way to long’ Air Canada representative tells us she might be able to get us on a flight the following day, I am a little ticked. Surely the president, of the United States, could leave Vegas during off-peak times!

Happily, we managed to find a flight into Moncton later that afternoon. Sara picked us up, after a three-hour drive through a snow storm. We then drove back to Saint John through same snow storm and finally arrived safe, tired and hungry.

Having been away for a week, there was little to nothing in the house to eat. As I stood in the kitchen dreading the idea of going back out into the snow storm for groceries, I remembered that I had a pound of jumbo shrimp in the freezer. Inspiration is such a magical thing. Without thinking, I grabbed the shrimp, half of a leftover fennel bulb, a couple of potatoes and a few other odds and ends that were hanging out in the fridge. An hour later we had a soup of the most shrimp tail-sucking succulence that we have ever tasted.

Thanks Barack!


serves 4

1 lb jumbo shrimp, cleaned with tail left on

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced thin

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

1 teaspoon dried chili flakes, or to taste

2 small bay leaves

2 tablespoons pesto

enough fish broth to cover vegetables, 1 – 11/2 cups I used lobster stock that I had made and frozen. You can use a commercial stock.

1 cup canned diced tomatoes or 1 cup marinara

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup heavy cream

sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, to garnish

In a medium stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Make sure that the bottom of your pot is heavy so that you do not burn the veggies.

When oil is warmed, add fennel, onion and bell pepper and saute until wilted. Do not brown.

Add dried chili flakes and continue to cook for another two minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour in wine and scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the stock pot. Then add fish stock/broth.

Add potato and bay leaves. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat and simmer broth until potatoes are fork tender.

When potatoes are tender, stir in pesto. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Add shrimp

Stir in the cream.

Allow soup to simmer while the shrimp poach. Be careful not to over cook your shrimp! As soon as the little guys are opaque turn the heat off. Remember that fish continues to cook as long as the broth is hot.

Typically, Italians do not serve cheese with fish but this dish was begging for some lovely shards of parmigiano.

Thanks for reading.