Fish soup

Fish soup

Sopa de peixe

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Serves
4
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There is a fantastic abundance of fish and seafood in Portugal, so our fish soups are complex in flavour and incredibly diverse in texture. We often add small elbow macaroni pasta, which absorbs the flavours from the stock and brings an extra dimension to the dish. Go to town with the varieties of fish and seafood you use (try red mullet, sea bass, bream, mackerel, pollack or coley), and make sure to ask for the trimmings from your fishmonger, as they make for a better broth. This will not be a clear soup, but one with deep flavour.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the fish stock

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
300g fish trimmings
4 ripe plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
50ml white wine
sea salt flakes
ground white pepper

For the soup

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, peeled, degermed and crushed
a small bunch coriander, stalks finely chopped and leaves picked
smoked paprika, to taste
6 ripe plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
60ml white wine
40g small pasta, such as elbow macaroni or shells
300g fish fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
500g prawns, mussels or clams

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
4 slices sourdough
1 garlic clove, halved
1 lemon, Finely grated zested
a small handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped
extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  1. To make the fish stock — Heat the oil in a large deep pan over a low heat. Add the onion, fennel and carrots and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf and fish trimmings and cook for a few more minutes, then add the tomatoes, increase the heat and cook until they have lightly caramelised. Pour in 1 litre water and the white wine and bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 25–30 minutes. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
  2. When the stock is ready, remove it from the heat, cover and leave it to infuse for 20 minutes, then strain it. Season lightly with salt and pepper. This is a very versatile stock; you could use it for the prawn and shellfish rice, in fish stews or to poach white fish such as halibut or sea bass.
  3. To make the soup — Heat the oil in a large, wide pan over a low heat. Add the onions and bay leaf and cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, coriander stalks and paprika and cook for a few minutes more. When the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables start to lightly caramelise. Pour in the wine and cook briefly, then add 1 litre fish stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pasta and simmer for 2 minutes (you don’t want to cook it all the way through at this stage), then taste for seasoning, remembering that the seafood is salty.
  4. Add the fish and poach it in the soup for 1–2 minutes, then add the prawns, mussels or clams and stir well. Cook for another 2–3 minutes, then cover, shake the pan and remove it from the heat. Leave it to sit for a few minutes.
  5. To serve — Toast the bread and rub each slice with the cut garlic. Bring the soup pan to the table and open the lid to breathe in its wonderful fragrances. Discard any unopened shellfish. Sprinkle over the lemon zest, coriander and parsley leaves and a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. A little more paprika would be lovely too. Pour the soup over the toasts to serve.
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