Simone Appetit: Givin’ it up for Lent

This tuna soup is served best with some grilled bread.
Courtesy photo |

I couldn’t decide what to give up for Lent this year. Men or chocolate? In the end, I gave up meat and substituted fish. Here’s a terrific recipe for tuna soup with savory vegetables.


Kosher salt (little bit)

1 1/2 pounds tuna, cut into 2 inch cubes

4 teaspoons pimenton dulce (sweet paprika)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large red onion, chopped

4 plump cloves garlic,minced

2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped

2 bay leaves

A few sprigs of thyme, optional

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

1 cup dry white wine

2 sweet roasted red bell peppers, peeled, seeded and pureed, about 1/2-1 cup

1/2 cup tomato sauce or 2 roasted tomatoes, peeled, seeded and pureed

1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette or 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika or pinch cayenne (optional)

Lots of freshly ground black pepper


A few hours before cooking, salt the fish lightly and rub it with 1 teaspoon of the pimenton. Refrigerate until needed.

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep saucepan and cook the onion over medium heat until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, 3 teaspoons pimenton, green bell peppers, bay leaves, thyme and a sprinkle of salt, and saute a few minutes longer.

Add the potatoes, salt to taste, the wine and just enough water to cover. Cover the pan and simmer on low heat until the potatoes are almost tender (when a knife still meets a little resistance when poked into the potatoes), about 15 minutes.

Add the pureed red peppers, tomato sauce and piment d’Espelette, if using, and mix well; add the tuna. Simmer for about 8 minutes or until fish is cooked, not rare, not dry, but tender, moist and just right. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Adjust seasoning. The potatoes will have absorbed the salt so you will likely need more. Be generous with the freshly ground black pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with grilled bread to sop up the juices.

Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news @

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