Seafood. Ocean critters. Fruit of the sea. What wonders swim and crawl beneath that big blue glassy surface.

Ok. Too much?

Before we get into the recipe, let’s talk a little bit about fish. Seafood of all kinds: fish, shellfish, mollusks, is an important facet of the diet. I notice that it is also one that tends to be forgotten about in the Paleo world. We eat lots of grass fed beef, plenty of pastured bacon, tons of cage-free pastured organic poultry and eggs and even sneak liver in every now and again, yet we seem to leave out the scaly things. I’m guilty of it, too! Especially in the winter. A grilled wild coho salmon filet doesn’t quite to the trick that a hearty beef stew will on a cold and snowy winter day,

Seafood happens to be a great source of many of the minerals that are often missing in the modern American diet. Minerals like iodine and selenium, which are so critical to thyroid function.  Just a little bit of this power couple supports your body and its ability to convert T4 (storage thyroid hormone) into T3 (active thyroid hormone that gets shit done).  This conversion is a big part of the problem that many people with thyroid dysfunction have, and much of that could be due to the lack of these two critical minerals in our diets. Zinc is also available in these under-the-sea friends, which is a major player in the support of our immune system and the integrity/growth/repair of cells. We could all use a little more red blood cell production, no? How often do you say to your pals, ”Gee, if I only had a few more of those damn red blood cells.” You’re in luck! Seafood also provides iron! Anemia is another popular problem of the modern day life.  Omega-3 fatty acids, those famous heart-helping and brain function-supporting fatty acids are highest in the stuff that comes from the ocean. Sure, we fortify every box of cereal, or jug of pasteurized and ruined white sugar-water (aka milk), with minerals and added Omega-3s, but we all know that the synthetic minerals forced into foods after they’ve been processed to hell don’t exactly work the same in our bodies that that natural stuff does. See, when we get nutrients, vitamins and minerals, from whole food in its natural form, it comes with all of this other stuff, called cofactors. These cofactors are little magicians that make whatever that nutrient may be, even more easily assimilated and utilized by our bodies. They also happen so come next to other complementary nutrients, often in the proper proportion, like our tag team of selenium and iodine. It’s amazing.  All of the stuff we need just so happens to come in this neat little package all ready for us. There’s a reason that many of us Paleo-preachers often say one simple sentence when it comes to how to start upping your nutrient intake: Just eat real food.

On to said food. When buying seafood, two words are the most important: Wild Caught. That’s another post for another day, but the long and short of it is that we want seafood that has been out in the wild doing its thing, eating its natural diet and moving around in its natural way. We don’t want critters that have been stuffed together, in a tiny little area, fed corn and other nonsense that fish would never eat on their own.  We always want to consume the closest to natures plan as possible. This is why we prefer grass-fed beef, and chickens allowed to wander a pasture eating bugs. Nature got it right, so we eat what it provides.

I knew I wanted seafood today. I advocate some kind of seafood at least once a week in part of the regular rotation. So what did my local market have available that was wild caught? Beautiful big scallops harvested locally, big ass wild shrimp, and some gorgeous squid – tentacles and tubes. I bought it up, came home and made this soup, which I was later told reminded my boyfriend of his italian grandmothers Zuppe di Pesce. Can’t ask for higher praise than that, can you? So clearly I knew I had to share the recipe with you all. You can use this recipe as a base, adding a white fish of your choice, some clams or muscles…the pot is your oyster.


Zuppe di Pesce
Serves 4 – (or 2 very hungry people with big appetites)
On the table in: 30 min

6 large scallops, cut in half
6 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (shells reserved)
1/2 lb cleaned squid (I like a combo of tentacles and tubes. Cut the tubes into 1/4″ rings like calamari)
1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1 onion, sliced
3 zucchini, sliced in 1/4″ rounds
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp herbs de provence
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
28 oz diced tomatoes
2 cups filtered water
salt and pepper to taste

1. First things first, we gotta make fish stock. Put 2 cups of filtered water in a medium sauce pan with your reserved shrimp shells and tails. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, and let it roll for 10 minutes.

2. In the meantime, start on the soup. Heat your cooking fat in a large pot or dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add the onions, zucchini, bay leaves, herbs, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Now add the sliced garlic and cook another minute or so, until fragrant. Add in your tomatoes, another big pinch of salt and some pepper, and cook out the raw tomato flavor – just about 3 minutes.

3. Strain the shells out of the boiling water – you just made shrimp broth! Add your fresh broth to the pot and give it a stir.  Bring the whole kit and caboodle to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let it ride for 10 minutes.

4. Add in the calamari, and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add the shrimp and scallops. Give it a good stir, bring the heat down to low, and cover it. Let it cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Peek in and give it a stir about halfway. You want the shrimp and scallops a nice pale white and the squid tentacles nice and curled up.  The seafood is very unlikely to over cook at this low heat, so don’t worry too much. You want it all just cooked through. 5-6 minutes should do the trick. Taste for seasoning, make any adjustments, and serve.

You can add more broth to stretch this soup out a bit. it should serve 4 normal people. It also serves one normal person and one man with the appetite of seven.