Second Course with Ixta Belfrage, Fish Soup
Carrying on with our two course seafood lunch with Ixta Belfrage, here's part two – a wonderful fish soup.
This recipe is slightly vague because you could essentially use anything for the stock, however it has a solid backbone which gives consistently good results. Unlike a classic French recipe for fish soup, there are no rules as to what you can use. Sticklers for classic cuisine will tell you that you should never use oily fish like mackerel, sardines, salmon or trout in a soup like this. I say go ahead and use whatever you can get your hands on!
Serve together with the crudo (see Ixta's previous recipe here) as a light lunch with grilled sourdough, anchovy aioli and a really good, crisp white, rose or orange wine.
Serves 3-4 as a light lunch — Prep 15 minutes — Cooking 1h30
2 red snappers, head, bones & skin
3-4 prawns, skin and heads left on
1 tin mackerel (in olive oil and sustainably sourced, if possible), 125g
1 tin sardines (in olive oil and sustainably sourced, if possible), 125g
2 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and roughly cut into 3cm pieces
1 fennel bulb, quartered
1/2 a bunch of celery, roughly cut into 3cm pieces
Finely shaved peel of 1/2 lemon
Finely shaved skin of 1/2 orange
1 onion, skin-on and quartered
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
Ask your fishmonger for any scraps they might have – you can use anything from skin to fin (and inbetween)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 litre water
Preheat the oven to 225C.
Mix all the backbone ingredients together in a large tray and roast for 45 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute, then add the tomato paste. Fry for another 3 minutes, until the tomato paste starts to thicken, darken and stick to the pan. Deglaze the pan with 1 litre of water, making sure to scrape off all the tomato and garlic stuck to the pan. Add this liquid to a large pot.
Add the roasted vegetables and fish to the pot and simmer on medium for about 45 minutes. Every now and then, use a spoon or a whisk to push down on the vegetables and fish to release all their good juices. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once you’ve simmered for about 45 minutes, you can either sieve all the fish and vegetables out to have a clear, broth-like soup or blitz the soup with the cooked carrots and/or fennel for a thicker, heartier soup. I prefer it thinner, with a handful of clams and mussels thrown in at the end and left covered on the heat for a few minutes until the shells begin to open.