The Food Chain

The Summer Shack’s Jasper White Thinks Rialto’s Soupe de Poisson Tastes of Marseilles

Rustic fisherman's soup at Rialto.
Rustic fisherman’s soup at Rialto. Photo: Rialto

On each edition of the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Eataly’s Dave Pasternack marveled over Jasper White’s light, plump clams at the Summer Shack. And now, we must know, what dish drives you absolutely mad, Jasper?

“One of my all-time favorite dishes is Jody Adams’s Soupe de Poisson, or Mediterranean fisherman’s soup. She just nails it. It tastes like you’re in Marseilles. She does a perfect job and has done it for ten years. I go to Rialto just for the soup. I love that dish.”

And now, Jody Adams reveals what makes her Soupe de Poisson so very delectable:

“It’s the ingredients. The thing about a traditional fisherman’s soup is the little fish that come from waters south of France. We can’t get that. I use New England waters. It’s cod and lobster bodies; it’s really made from the things that typically people throw away. I use the fish frame and the lobster bodies. It’s amazing what you can get out if you roast them for flavor with a sofrito of carrots and celery and fennel and leeks and garlic and tomatoes. I add wine — a dry white wine — saffron, Pernod, and orange. I’d refer to it as a rich, smooth but rustic soup. You taste the sea. I serve with the traditional accompaniments, which is crostini with a little bit of spicy-pepper mayonnaise and grated Gruyère. It comes from Marseilles. I was there one summer and had learned how to make it from a woman who had a restaurant there, and I tried to re-create it. You buy these little bags of trash fish — all the little tiny whole fish that are left in the net after the big fish are taken out. Fishermen take them home and throw them into the pot. No cleaning. No gutting. I’m trying to re-create that.”

The Summer Shack’s Jasper White Thinks Rialto’s Soupe de Poisson