When Jim and I were working in south Texas, one of our favorite restaurants, Las Margaritas, served a delish soup made with a white fish and shrimp. I asked Margarita for the recipe several times, but she wouldn’t share it. I want to believe that it was because she was one of those cooks who “just knows how” to cook something, and really didn’t have a recipe for it.
After we left Texas, I experimented for months, trying to reproduce that soup. This is as close as I can get without driving for three days.
Mexican Seafood Soup
3-4 stalks of celery, coarsley chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (or 3 if you dare) jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
3 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
3 medium potatos, washed and cut in chunks
3 cubes Shrimp bouillon (Caldo con sabor de camaron) w/ 1 cup water
OR 16 oz seafood stock
6 cups water
2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 shakes of tabasco sauce
1 bunch fresh cilantro if desired
1 lb tilapia or other firm white fish, cut in bite size pieces
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven. Saute the celery, onion, garlic, and jalapenos until the onions are clear. Add tomatoes, cumin, basil, red pepper, tabasco, carrots, and potatoes. Put the bouillon cubes in 1 cup of water in a microwave safe container. Microwave for 4 minutes, until the water is boiling. Stir well to make sure the cubes are dissolved. Add to the dutch oven. If using the seafood stock instead, add it now. Add the rest of the water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover the pot, and simmer for 40 minutes. Add the fish and shrimp, cover, and simmer another 10 minutes. Slice the avocado and squeeze lime juice over to prevent discoloration.
Ladle the soup into bowls, add a few slices of avocado, and a squeeze lime juice. Serve with corn or flour tortillas.
Or, just drive down to Pharr, Texas, walk into Las Margaritas, and order a bowl.