Provencal Fish Soup

Provencal Fish Soup

Ingredients (serves 4)

85ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
75g Onion, finely chopped
75g Celery, finely chopped
75g Leek, finely chopped
75g Fennel, finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
40g Tomato paste
Pinch of Orange zest, grated
1 Red Pepper, seeded and chopped
2 fresh Bay Leaves
1 sprig of Thyme
1 large pinch of Saffron
100g Shellfish (velvet crabs, langoustine shells or even whole, frozen Atlantic prawns),
rinsed and coarsely chopped
200g tinned Tomatoes
½ Orange, juiced
600ml Fish stock
900g mixed Fish (small red mullet, gurnards, monkfish, bass, bream etc), cleaned, filleted and cut into chunks
1 large pinch of Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

The first spoonful of this soup transports you immediately to the South of France! There’s a fair bit of work involved in pulling the ingredients together, but the cooking process is actually quite straightforward. Inevitably it’s more authentic when using Mediterranean fish – red mullet, gurnard, etc., but still pretty good with the likes of pollock, ling or codling. It makes sense to make larger quantities as the soup freezes well.

Method
Heat the oil in a large shallow pan, add the chopped vegetables and garlic then sweat slowly for 20 minutes until nicely softened.

Add the tomato paste, orange zest, red pepper, bay, thyme, saffron and shellfish.

Cook for 3-4 minutes then add the chopped tomatoes, orange juice and the fish stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes before adding the fish. Retain the bones to make into fish stock.

Simmer for a further 5 minutes then liquidise, seasoning with cayenne, salt and pepper.

Force 3 times through a fine sieve, check the seasoning and adjust where necessary, then serve piping hot with lots of garlic croutons, rouille and grated Gruyère cheese.

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