A cross between Spanish paella and New Orleans jambalaya, Asopao (a rice-and-seafood stew) is Puerto Rico’s official dish. And it is as varied across the island as chili is in the American Southwest. Chef Barton Seaver starts his with an herb sofrito, then adds smoked paprika. It’s untraditional, but nothing beats its smoky, savory flavors and bonfire-like aroma in the wintertime.
Recipe: Puerto Rican Asopao
A small amount of smoked paprika adds depth to this delicious stew. Saffron imparts flavor and color. Steep the tender threads in liquid first to get the best results.
Bonito flakes are made from fillets of a tuna-like fish that are smoked, aged, and shaved into paper-thin slices for a savory, smoky flavor that's impossible to forget. You'll never make this classic without it again.
Recipe: Caramelized Onion Soup
This recipe calls for Key limes, also called Mexican limes, which are smaller and rounder than standard Persian limes—the ones you generally find in your supermarket. Key limes produce a lot more juice with an altogether “limier” flavor.
Recipe: Yucatecan Chicken-and-Lime Soup
Lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves really boosts the flavor of this exotic soup. But don’t skip this recipe if you can’t find them; just substitute a teaspoon of lime zest. You can also seed the chilies if you prefer a milder flavor.
Recipe: Thai Coconut Soup
If you need to chill the soup quickly, cover it and put it in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also pour the soup into a bowl and place it in a larger bowl filled with ice.
Recipe: Mango Gazpacho
Using minimum seasonings lets the fresh, light taste of the seafood shine. Opt for fresh garlic for maximum flavor. You can tell it's fresh if it does not have a growing green germ in the center. If you see the beginning of a sprout, pull it out and discard.
Recipe: Gulf Coast Seafood Stew
Have the fishmonger tap clams to make sure they are alive. If the shells are open and do no close when tapped, the shellfish are dead and should be discarded. Clams need to breathe, so when you get home, transfer them to a bowl covered with a damp towel. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Surprise! This rich, velvety soup contains no cream or milk. Pureeing in the blender fills the mixture with air, making it thicker. Add more broth if you like a thinner consistency. It's delicious topped with the Crab-and-Mango Garnish or on its own.
Recipe: Chilled Avocado Soup
Fish cooks quickly, so add it last. Lower the heat so the soup no longer bubbles, and then add the fish. Depending on the portions, it should cook through in about seven minutes.
Recipe: Sicilian Fish Soup
Scallops are an excellent source of vitamin B12; one 4-ounce serving contains one-third of an adult’s daily minimum requirement. So eat up!
Luscious chunks of lobster complement the vibrant heirloom tomatoes in this fresh-from-the-garden soup. Tip: The white and pale green portion of leeks are the edible parts. The dark green tips are tough but can be added to broths and stocks for extra flavor.
Rolando “Chef Roly” Cruz-Taura, executive chef at the grand Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, transformed traditional black beans into this smooth, rich soup topped with a fresh shrimp salad. Tip: Use an immersion blender to quickly purée the beans.
Recipe: Black Bean Bisque
Recipe: Rock Shrimp Escabèche
This creamy Salmon Chowder tastes as good as if served in a restaurant. The crumbled bacon on top adds extra crunch and flavor to the soup. We recommend Alaskan king or sockeye salmon. For extra flavor, try hot smoked salmon and skip the 1-minute cooking step.
Recipe: Salmon Chowder