As I've said before, fish is something that I enjoy eating but haven't gotten much of a handle on cooking. Last time, I put tilapia in a packet and trusted the oven to do it's thing, with good results. Still, one recipe isn't enough to get fish into regular rotation at the house; to be a featured player at dinner time, an ingredient has to be versatile. Versatile or pizza.When I started exploring what can be done with fish that is hard to screw up, it became abundantly clear that soup was the answer. Which made me happy, because soup is my favorite thing to cook. The method is insanely easy. Bring a flavorful liquid (in great enough quantity to cover the fish you'll be using) to a boil. Add the fish and drop to a simmer. Cook twenty minutes or until the fish flakes apart. This is painting in primary colors, and when the outline is so simple it really allows you to focus on which flavors you want to bring forth.
Once they were cooked down to my liking, I removed the onions and mushrooms to a plate to be added back later in the process. This left me looking at a pan with a lot of crusty bits at the bottom; the fond. Keeping the stove on medium heat, I added half a cup of white wine (not cooking wine--the wine doesn't need to be obscenely priced, but the statement that you should only cook with a wine you'd drink holds true) and used a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan until the bits had combined with the wine to make a sauce. Once the alcohol smell had fled my wine, I added two quarts of chicken broth and two cans of diced tomatoes, along with a quarter cup of basil, which I turned up to a boil.
With that out of the way, let's turn our attention to the fish. I used flounder, not because of any particular affinity for it, but because it is relatively cheap and I didn't want to do tilapia again. Also, I wanted to use a light fish--something heavier like salmon would have gone better with the hearty soup I'd first imagined; here I wanted something that seemed light like the basil and wine.
I just cut two pounds of fish into what I envisioned to be bite sized pieces. As you can see, I like fairly large bites. It turned out perfectly for everyone, though, because they tended to flake apart once they became cooked. As I teased above, all I had to do was bring my cooking liquid up to a boil, drop in the fish, and keep the pot at a hearty simmer for about twenty minutes, and the soup was done. Well, almost.