When you buy a slab of fish and fillet it at home, what can you do with the bones? You make fish stock, right? And if there’s still a lot of flesh attached to the bones? Soup or frittata come to mind. This salmon and spinach soup was made from Christmas leftovers.
When we were planning our Christmas Eve menu, we agreed that it would be seafood-centric but what seafood exactly we’d be having took a bit more discussion. In the end, we decided on salmon, shrimps and squid.
When you live in the boondocks like we do, it isn’t always easy to find well-cut fish fillet in the market. There are only two vendors that sell salmon at the Antipolo market and their filleting skills are both disastrous. What we do is buy the fish whole (with or without the head) and I do the filleting at home.
Last Christmas Eve, I filleted a kilo of salmon, cut a portion into sashimi and the rest went on the grill.
There were just the four of us, as usual. After prepping the salmon and shrimps, and making cole slaw, it looked like we would have way too much food if we included the squid. So, the squid, I left in the freezer.
The bone with still substantial amount of flesh attached to it, I wrapped tightly and kept in the freezer.
A few days later, I thawed the bone, poached it, carefully separated the flesh then threw the bone back into the pot where it simmered until the cooking liquid was flavorful. The broth and flesh became this salmon and spinach soup.
Salmon and Spinach Soup
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot.
- Saute the garlic and shallots until lightly browned and fragrant.
- Pour in six to eight cups of water. Bring to a simmer.
- Lower the fish bone into the pot. Cook over low heat just until the flesh attached to the bone turns opaque.
- Lift the bone out of the liquid, transfer to a plate and cool.
- Carefully separate the salmon flesh from the bone.
- Return the bone to the pot, pour in two tablespoons of fish sauce, sprinkle in the pepper and simmer for 15 minutes or so.
- Remove the fish bones from the broth and discard.
- Taste the broth. Add more fish sauce, of needed.
- Plunge the spinach into the liquid. Cook just until wilted.
- Add the salmon flesh to the soup. Stir gently.
- Taste the broth. Adjust the seasonings, if needed, before serving.