Curried fish soup

Fall ushers in lots of favorite sights and sounds: mounds of bright orange pumpkins in the market, a fresh crop of apples for munching or bobbing, and parents cheering along the sidelines at a soccer field. A few years ago, I was one of them: I qualified as a full-fledged soccer mom with my two teenagers both playing soccer. As the cleats came off, there were moans and groans for fast food coming from the back seat of the car. I whizzed by the taco and burger outlets giving assurances that dinner would be ready in 20 minutes, because I knew I had leftovers at hand.
With leisure time on the weekend, I poached halibut fillets and steamed baby red potatoes for dinner, and intentionally cooked extra. Instead of buying 1½ pounds of halibut to serve four, I bought a generous 2 pounds. I steamed 28 little potatoes, served 4 per person, and set aside 12. I dressed up this meal by tossing the potatoes to be served with butter, minced parsley, salt and pepper. For the halibut, I made a quick sauce by mixing together: 1 teaspoon paprika, 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, ½ cup mayonnaise, and added 2 tablespoons drained and rinsed capers, plus 2 tablespoons minced scallions, and a little freshly ground pepper to taste. A market-fresh vegetable completed the plate. Two leftover containers went into the refrigerator, one containing halibut, the other with potatoes, ready for an after-soccer-one-pot-meal.


Serves 4


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small (about 3 ounces) yellow onion cut into thin wedges
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/2 cups water
1 bottle (8ounces) clam juice
1 can (13½ ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
12 baby red potatoes steamed, quartered
2 jalapeño chilies seeded and finely sliced
1 large tomato cut in half vertically, cored, seeded, and cut into thin wedges
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/4 cups halibut poached, flaked
Salt to taste


In a 3 1/2- to 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Swirl to coat pan, add onion and sauté until soft and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add curry powder and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the water, clam juice, and coconut milk. Stir to blend. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to maintain a low simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add potatoes, jalapeños, tomato, and lime juice. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add fish and heat through. Taste and add salt.