Red gurnard soup with samphire and orange

Red gurnard soup with samphire and orange

British Seafood
David Loftus

Fish soups are a great way to start a special meal. This is my take on a soup I tasted years ago, which was made with a whole red mullet. The flavour was amazing, though personally I thought it was a waste to pulp the fish flesh for the broth. Here I pan-fry the gurnard fillets and serve them on top of the soup with fragrant, salty samphire and a punch of zingy orange. It tastes as good as it looks…


Quantity Ingredient
2 gurnard, scaled, gutted, filleted and pin-boned (heads and bones reserved)
light rapeseed oil, for cooking
2 white onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon good quality tomato puree
10 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1 orange, finely zested and juiced
1 litre Roast fish stock
200g samphire, washed and trimmed
1 small orange, peel and pith removed, segmented
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat a medium-large saucepan over a medium heat. When hot, add a drizzle of oil, then the onions, carrots, chilli, red pepper and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes to soften, stirring every minute to avoid the vegetables catching. Next add the fish bones and heads, along with the tomato purée, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring again every minute.
  2. Now add the tomatoes, bay leaf, rosemary sprig and orange zest and juice. Cook for a further 5 minutes, giving the mixture a good stir every couple of minutes. Pour in the fish stock and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Pass the soup through a mouli or a large potato ricer into another saucepan. (If you don’t have a mouli or potato ricer, you can blitz the soup in a blender, then pass it through a sieve but you won’t achieve quite the same clarity.) Taste the soup and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm over a low heat.
  4. To cook the samphire, add to a pan of boiling water, bring back to the boil and cook for 1 minute; drain and keep warm.
  5. To cook the fish, heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add a little oil and place the fillets in the pan, skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes until the skin starts to crisp up, then flip the fish over and cook for a further 1 minute. Take off the heat, keeping the fish in the pan to finish cooking in the residual heat as you serve up the soup.
  6. Divide the soup between warmed soup plates, scatter half of the samphire in the centre and place the fish on top. Finish with the remaining samphire and a few pieces of orange. Serve at once.
British Seafood
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