Basic Dishes of Provence – Soupe de Poissons

Soupe de Poissons

(Confirmedçal Fish Soup)

Ah, the fantastic fish soups of Provence! You could find variations and variants of this soup all alongside the Mediterranean coast, and in lots of locations inland as nicely. Served from its personal tureen, with the normal toasted croutons, grated Gruyere and sauce rouille, it is all the time scorching, spicy, filling and satisfying, and makes a super precursor to a lighter fundamental course of plainly grilled fish or seafood.

Do strive it!

Components (for four servings):

1 kg contemporary fish, cleaned, scaled and minimize into items (You need to use a mix of crimson mullet, sea bass, monkfish, John Dory, brill, crimson snapper, eel, and so on., however do not use delicate white fish because the flavour can be overwhelmed and misplaced);

2 tablespoons olive oil;

2 medium onions;

2 medium leeks;

2 cloves garlic;

6 giant ripe tomatoes;

1 teaspoon tomato purée;

1 bay leaf;

1 sprig contemporary thyme;

½ teaspoon saffron;

salt and freshly-ground black pepper;

1 glass white wine;

2 teaspoons pastis;

sauce rouille (see recipe under)


Begin by making ready the greens. Peel and chop the onions. Slice the leeks. Peel and crush the garlic. Chop the tomatoes (skins, stalks and all).

In a big, heavy-bottomed casserole dish sweat the onions, leeks and garlic within the olive oil till softened and calmly browned.

Add the roughly chopped tomatoes, the tomato purée, the bay leaf, the sprig of thyme and the glass of white wine. Stir nicely collectively.

Add the items of fish.

Cook dinner all collectively, stirring continuously, till the fish begins to melt.

Add the saffron, and sufficient water to only cowl the fish.

Deliver to the boil. Skim off any impurities that rise to the floor.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Switch the contents of the pan to a meals processor (you may most likely have to do that in two or extra phases) and whiz all of it up collectively. Then go the whole thing by a big metallic sieve, urgent down nicely on the fish and vegetable particles to extract most flavour.

Return to the pan, add the 2 teaspoons of pastis and reheat.

Serve extremely popular with the normal accompaniments of lightly-toasted French bread, grated Gruyere cheese and sauce rouille (see recipe under).

Unfold the slices of toasted bread with the rouille, cowl with grated cheese and add to the soup, pushing the bread under the floor of the soup to melt and take up all of the flavours.

Sauce Rouille:

The standard companion to bouillabaisse and soupe de poisons, this fiery, rust-coloured condiment has a mess of variations and variations. Some individuals add potatoes; some add breadcrumbs; some add saffron; some add pounded crimson mullet or rascasse livers!

Rouille all the time wants greater than a touch of warmth. This may be offered by dried crimson chillies, by cayenne pepper or by the North African harissa paste – however warmth there have to be!

This recipe is ample for about eight servings of soupe de poisons.


three plump cloves garlic;

three small dried crimson chilli peppers;

1 egg yolk;

1 small potato, peeled and cooked;

1 teaspoon French mustard;

150ml olive oil;

sea salt.


Peel the garlic. Take away the seeds from the chilli peppers, and chop them (the peppers, not the seeds!)

With a pestle and mortar (or a meals processor!) pound the garlic with a pinch of sea salt till it turns into a clean paste.

Add the cooked potato, the mustard and the chilli peppers. Pound all these collectively till clean. Stir the egg yolk in nicely. Begin including the oil, drop by drop, as if making mayonnaise.

If the consequence appears too thick, it may be thinned down with just a little fish inventory – or simply with boiling water.

An alternate technique is so as to add a teaspoon of fiery North African harissa paste to 150ml aioli (garlic mayonnaise). However the first technique might be the most effective.