by Ernest Barteldes
Ever since I moved to New York , I have slowly discovered how cooking with condensed canned soup sometimes makes the whole process of making a meal much easier – in many cases, using such products cuts cooking time at least in half, to say the least.
Not that I resort to them all the time, but when it comes to preparing dishes that contain sauces or other kinds of cream, canned soup often does the trick. You do have to be aware that many of those soup products might be a little high in sodium, so avoiding adding more salt keeps things on the healthy side, and the right mix of spices makes a whole lot of difference.
A few years back I found a book at the bargain bin of the (now defunct) Borders bookstore entitled “The Biggest Book of Easy Canned Soup Recipes” published by Better Homes & Gardens. The almost 400 page tome contains various suggestions for cooking vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood by adding different combinations of canned soup (some of which I have never even found on shelves at my local supermarket). The book was quite an eye-opener about the possibilities of cooking with stuff like cream of mushroom or broccoli.
But I didn’t stop with that book – I have since found my own time-saving combinations and tricks to make some of the dishes on the book even more appetizing without making them feel like processed food.
Fish in mushroom and shrimp sauce
About 5 fish fillets (I use tilapia, but other firm fish works just as well), washed and patted-dry with a paper towel
1 can of condensed cream of shrimp soup plus one can of water
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
Chopped cilantro, chopped scallions, black pepper and salt (careful there) to taste
½ tablespoon olive oil
Heat the oil and sauté the mushrooms until they have softened and released their liquid. Add the scallions and sauté for another minute. Add the cream of shrimp, pepper sauce and water and stir gently until the mix comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the fish and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes until cooked through. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and let stand covered for about 5 minutes. Serve over white rice.