The Soup Lady recently had occasion to visit King's Fish House in California and ordered some White Bean and Salmon soup.
The menu proudly announces that the soups are made fresh daily from scratch. It remains unclear what exactly they were scratching when they made this one because it was a huge disappointment. Although the chunks of salmon in the bowl were sizable and plentiful, I don't recall any actual beans in there and the tomato-based broth was quite watery.
Never one to give up at the first skirmish, the Soup Lady continued to think about just how good this could be. A little internet research turned up a few recipes that were surprisingly different beyond the basic beans and fish ingredients. After a week in the test kitchen, I find that this one is the best of the bunch.
The recipe comes from Prevention.com so you know it's got to be good for you, too. The website says: "The ingredients in this hearty meal not only help prevent cancer and heart disease--they also stave off ulcers." Stave off more than that, I bet, with its double whammy of cabbage and beans in the same pot. Have mercy!
1 cup navy beans, picked over, rinsed, and soaked overnight
2½ cups water
2 cups chicken broth
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
½ pound skinned salmon fillet, cut into 1" chunks
2 ounces (2 thick slices) Canadian bacon, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine the beans, water, broth, garlic, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes, or until the beans are very tender. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
2. In a food processor or blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover to keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the cabbage and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, for 6 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender.
4. Add to the soup.
5. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the salmon and bacon. Sprinkle with the thyme.
6. Cook, stirring gently, for 3 minutes, or until the salmon is lightly browned and just opaque.
7. Gently stir the salmon mixture into the soup. Makes 4 Servings