Mark Hix: Breton fish soup
The hearty fish soups of France can be served as two courses, with the chunky fish pieces used as a main course, followed by the broth. I'm going to leave everything in one pot here, however, and serve it as one delicious soup. The fish you use is up to you, but I wouldn't suggest spending too much on a prime fish; you will get good results with, say, plaice, haddock, huss, gurnard, etc. You'll notice I haven't mentioned pollack, and that's because I fear that it may become a victim of its own success. Its increasing popularity is due partly to the fact that many people now seem to think it's endlessly sustainable, which it isn't.
Buy your fish on the bone and fillet and skin it yourself, or get the fishmonger to do it, and make a stock with the head, bones and skin by just simmering them with a chopped-up leek, onion and celery stick with some thyme, a bay leaf and a few fennel seeds for 20 minutes, then strain it off.
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 leek, cut into rough 1cm squares and washed
A good knob of butter
1 potato, peeled, thinly sliced and cut into rough 1cm squares
1.5 litres fish stock
1kg white fish such as gurnard, filleted (see above)
2tbsp chopped parsley
2-3tbsp double cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gently cook the onions and leek in the butter for 2-3 minutes with a lid on until soft, stirring every so often. Add the fish stock, season and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Cut the fish fillet into bite-sized chunks, checking for bones and add to the soup with the potatoes, cream and parsley. Simmer for 6-7 minutes until the potatoes are cooked, then check the seasoning and serve.
You could make this the day before, reserving the fish and parsley, and add them just before serving.
As Published: 28 November 2007 The Independent
Creation date : 02/12/2007 @ 20:06
Last update : 02/12/2007 @ 20:06
Category : Recipes
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