Mackerel and pollack dumplings in leek and saffron soup

Mackerel and pollack dumplings in leek and saffron soup

Fish Kitchen
David Loftus

I love Chinese-style steamed dumplings, so I decided to create my own version from fish trimmings one day. Using a combination of oily and white fish gives the dumplings a lovely balance of texture and moisture, and a great flavour. They add another dimension to this delicious leek and saffron soup.

Mackerel and pollack dumplings


Quantity Ingredient
300g mackerel fillet, skinned
300g pollack fillet, skinned
a drizzle light rapeseed oil, plus extra for oiling
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 dutch red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dill, chopped
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Leek and saffron soup

Quantity Ingredient
a drizzle cold-pressed rapeseed oil
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
3 leeks, washed and sliced
100g potato, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
1 litre Fish stock
150ml double cream
a drizzle good olive oil, to finish


  1. To make the dumplings, check over the fish fillets for pin bones. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of oil, followed by the shallots, garlic and chillies. Sweat for 2 minutes to soften without colouring, then tip out onto a tray to cool.
  2. Put the mackerel and pollack fillet in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and season the mixture with salt and pepper, then blend for another 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a cold bowl and add the cooled shallot mixture, beaten egg and herbs. Mix well with your hands, then shape into balls, the size of golf balls, and place on a tray. Chill while you make the soup.
  4. To make the soup, heat a saucepan over a medium heat, then add a little oil. When it is hot, add the onion, garlic and leeks and sweat for 3 minutes to soften without colour.
  5. Add the potato and saffron, then pour in the fish stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently until the potato is cooked. Add the cream, bring back to a simmer and cook for another minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Transfer to a blender and blend until just smooth. Return to the clean pan.
  6. Heat up your steamer (or steamer basket over a pan of simmering water). Take the dumplings from the fridge, oil them all over and season with a little salt. Line your steamer with silicone paper. Place the dumplings in the steamer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Gently reheat the soup.
  7. Ladle the soup equally into 4 warm bowls and share the dumplings between them. Add a drizzle of olive oil and serve at once.
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