Kick off your holiday feast with a silky seafood soup. It’s not tricky to make and actually improves in flavour if made at least a day ahead. Serve in your prettiest bowls at the table or in your prized teacups in the living room before the call to the dinner table.
For a hint of licorice, use Pernod or pastis instead of port or marsala. Its mild flavour complements seafood dishes. If clam juice is not available, substitute a 10-ounce (284-mL) can undiluted chicken broth and 1 teaspoon (5 mL) anchovy paste for each bottle.
A little bit of cream goes a long way in dressing up most soups. For a creamy garnish, whip cream and stir in chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, tarragon or dill, sliced green onions or a little finely grated lemon, lime or orange peel. Dollop on top of soup just before serving. For an extra kick, stir in hot chili-garlic sauce or a few drops of Tabasco sauce. For another quick garnish fix, try sprinkling a few seasoned croutons over each bowl of soup.