Master this classic French seafood soup on your Rayburn. 



For the base

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 bulb of fennel, sliced 

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

300ml (1/2 pint) white wine

450g (1 lb) fish bones, from white fish and shellfish

1 bay leaf

6 peppercorns, crushed


For the soup 

2 shallots, very finely chopped

A pinch of saffron threads

1/2 bulb of fennel, sliced

4 sweet tomatoes, deseeded and chopped

1 tbsp Pernod

450g (1 lb) mixed white fish, such as halibut, sea bass, monkfish, John Dory, gurnard, whiting

350g (3/4 lb) shellfish, mussels, clams, prawns

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

To serve

Fresh bread or toasted


Serves 4-6


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion, fennel and garlic for about 3-4 minutes. Add the wine and bring to the boil and boil rapidly to reduce the wine by half. Add the fish bones, bayleaf and peppercorns and enough water to cover. Return to the boil and then slide the saucepan to the simmering side of the hotplate and simmer for 30 minutes - or place in a moderate Main Oven to simmer.

2. Strain in the base stock, return it to a clean saucepan and add the shallots. Reheat to simmering point and add the saffron, fennel, tomato and Pernod, bring up to the boil. Add the fish and shellfish with those pieces that need cooking the longest going into the pan first. (Discard any mussels that refuse to open).

3. Simmer until all the fish is cooked - about 15 minutes in all, season and add the parsley and lemon juice. Serve the soup in bowls with bread, and rouille, (a red, piquant mayonnaise) in a separate dish. 

For a simple rouille: place 4 cloves of garlic, 3 egg yolks, 175g (6 oz) roasted red peppers, 1 red chilli and salt into a food processor. Whiz together and slowly drizzle in 225ml (8 fl oz) of olive oil. 

Recipes Tags