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Member recipe

Fish Soup

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Serves 8

Fish soup with a great depth of flavour, served with rouille & croutons. It can be made the day before and kept overnight in the fridge or freezer.

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  • 1.5 kg of assorted flakey white fish fillets (e.g. hake, cod)
  • 8oz cold water prawns, in the shell (e.g. North Atlantic)
  • 3 litres of water
  • 4 fish stock cubes
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 medium leeks chopped
  • 3 medium carrots chopped
  • 2 large celery sticks chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 large fennel bulb, stalks discarded and bulb chopped
  • juice of 1 large orange
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small tin tomato paste
  • 3/4 pint dry white wine
  • 2 or 3 dashes of Pernod (adjust to taste later if required)
  • leaves from 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 3 tsp fresh tarragon chopped
  • 3 tsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 tsp saffron strands
  • 2 to 3 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to taste later if required)
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp tomoato puree
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 slim baguette
  • olive oil
  • 150g freshly grated Gruyere cheese


    1. Make the stock using the water, stock cubes and prawns (separate the heads from the prawns and add both heads and bodies to the water). Cover the pan and bring to the boil. When it reaches the boil switch the heat off and leave to stand for a while. Remove the prawns and, using the end of a rolling pin or back of a wooden spoon and a colander, mash the heads and bodies and catch any juices etc in a bowl. Add the juices back into the stock. Discard the remains of the prawns
    2. Cut the fish into large chunks, 2 to 3 inches wide.
    3. Heat the oil in a large pot or pan and add the leeks, carrots, onion, fennel and garlic. Cover the pan and sweat gently until the vegetables are very very soft and without allowing them to brown, stirring from time to time. When the vegetables are very soft stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the fish, then the stock, wine, orange juice, thyme, tarragon, parsley, saffron strands, and cayenne. Cover the pan, bring to the boil slowly and then simmer gently with the pan still covered, stirring from time to time, until the fish completely falls apart. Add 2 or 3 dashes of Pernod (to taste) and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (also to taste).
    4. Allow the soup to cool then zap it in a liquidiser or blender. Then work it all through a seive using the back of a ladle, wooden spoon etc. Keep the surplus fish/vegetable mixture. Reduce the strained liquid a little.
    5. Note: You can use the left over mashed fish and vegetable mixture to make Thai fish cakes. Add a bit of seasoned mashed potato, some chopped spring onions, chopped fresh coriander & chill peppers etc. Season the mix with some Thai fish sauce (to taste) and then shape the mix into round cakes. Fry the cakes in some oil until brown on both sides. Serve with some dips, e.g. sweet chilli, nuoc cham and a Thai salad
    6. Add some of the fish/vegetable mixture back into the soup. I normally add about a quarter of the residue back into the soup, but you should add as much of it as you need in order to get the desired texture/thickness. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required.
    7. To make the rouille, mix together the mayo, garlic, tomato puree and the cayenne pepper and season to taste. Garnish with a sprinkle of cayenne and a sprig of parsley.
    8. To make the croutons, heat the oven to 200 deg C (180 deg C fan oven) gas mark 6. Cut the baguette in 1cm-thick slices and lay them in a single layer on one or more baking trays. Brush lightly with oil on one side and dry for 10 minutes in the oven until crisp but not hard.
    9. Reheat the soup to serve and adjust the seasoning as required, i.e. salt, pepper, cayenne and Pernod before serving. Spread the croutons generously with the rouille and sprinkle with the grated cheese then float each one on to the surface of the soup.

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