provencal fish soup

Provencal Soup of Fish and Vegetables

Last Updated on January 15, 2021 by Nazmin Sarker

Provencal Fish Soup

I love this intensely flavored, smooth, provencal fish brick-red soup, which comes with little garlicky croutons and rouille, a peppery thick sauce, to stir into it. It is the most reviving ambrosia after a long day doing anything at all. It’s made its way on to many restaurant menus and, even if they do take it out of a jar, it is still a great pleasure to eat.

provencal fish soup

It also happens to be a great pleasure to make and, though it requires a few leaps of faith if you are not familiar with the recipe, there is nothing difficult about it at all.

Two things are crucial

The first is a good mix of fish, amongst them, for preference, a brace of rascasse for the most authentic of flavors, or at least a couple of fine red mullet for the nest best thing.

Some recipes sanction water as the liquid but I think it is essential to use good fish stock. To give depth to what is a smooth, thin soup. There are several different versions of rouille. Often, you will be served a garlicky, saffron, and pepper mayonnaise but the original is based on bread and remains, to my mind, by far the best choice. If you have any leftover, use it as a dip with prawns or spoon it over baked or boiled potatoes. Delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1.8kg (4 lb) mixed fish (rascasse, if you can get them, and /or a few red mullet, but also conger eel taste, wrasse, monkfish, gurnard, sea bream, or any fish that is not oily)
  • 250g (9 oz) shell-on raw prawns
  • 110ml (4 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 1 ½ X 400g (14 oz) tins of tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomatoes
  • 3 fresh parsley sprigs, and 2 bay leaves, tied together with string
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 strip of dried orange zest
  • 2.5 liters (4 pints) Fish Stock
  • generous pinch of saffron threads
  • 3 tablespoons Pernod
  • ½-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and plenty of pepper

To Garnish:

  • 8-12 slices of French bread
  • olive oil
  • Rouille
  • freshly grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 X 2.5cm (1 inch) thick slices of French bread
  • pinch of saffron strands
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 red pepper, grilled and skinned
  • ½-1 medium fresh red chili, de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 110ml (4 fl oz) olive oil

Instructions:

  • Cut the fish into chunks that are roughly 5cm (2 inches) across. Set aside with the prawns.
  • Put the oil in a large pan and add the vegetables, garlic, and coriander seeds.
  • Stir to coat in oil and then cover and sweat over low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cook over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from catching.
  • Now add the stock, bring up to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add the saffron, Pernod, and cayenne and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Cool slightly and fish out the bundle of herbs, then liquidize the whole contents of the pan ( yes, including the prawns in their shells) to a smoothish sludge.
  • Now pass the soup through a fine blade of a vegetable mill or rub through a fine-meshed sieve, pressing through all the juice.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a generous grinding of black pepper. Meanwhile, for the garnish, preheat the oven to 200’C/400’F/Gas Mark 6. (Also more: best air fryer toaster oven consumer reports)
  • Brush the slices of French bread generously with olive oil, then bake until golden brown and pass around as the soup is served, along with a bowl of rouille and another filled with grated cheese, so that everyone can help themselves.
  • Tear the bread up roughly and place it in a bowl. Add enough water barely to cover and leave for 5-10 minutes.
  • Put the saffron in a small bowl and spoon over the hot water. Leave to steep De-seed the pepper and chop roughly.
  • Place either in a mortar or the bowl of a consumer reports food processor with the chili and garlic.
  • Drain the bread and squeeze out the water with your hands. Add to the pepper and chili, seasoning with the salt.
  • Pound or process to a smooth paste and then gradually work in the olive oil as if making mayonnaise (though you can afford to be a little more heavy-handed).
  • Stir in the saffron and its water, then taste and adjust the seasoning.

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