Easy fish soup


Tips – Serving this with poppadums adds a great crunch to the dish. To make your own perfect butter chicken, adjust the spice levels to your own preference. Stir a handful of chopped baby spinach through the rice for extra colour and flavour.

Serves 4

Preparation 10 minutes

Cooking 30 minutes

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, thinly sliced into 5mm rounds
  • 1 medium bulb of fennel, halved and medium diced (taking off the outer layer is often unnecessary; remove it only if stringy)
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely sliced
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 1.2 litres water
  • 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt
  • 400g Desiree potatoes, peeled and diced into mouth size pieces.
  • 500g firm white fish such as Rankin Cod filleted, skinned and cut into large pieces
  • 12 mussels, scrubbed clean
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • good crusty bread or crostini, to serve

Garlic Mayonnaise

  • 8 tablespoons shop-bought mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • small squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped and mushed with a little
  • flaked sea salt
  1. Pour the olive oil into a large pan or pot over a medium heat. Add the leek, fennel, bay leaves, fennel seeds, peppercorns and rosemary to sweat for 10 minutes or so, stirring often, until nearly tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and bring to the boil for 3 minutes or so before adding the water, sea salt and potatoes. Bring the soup back to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are only a fraction less than ready (try one).
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, make the garlic mayonnaise. Put the mayonnaise, mustard and egg yolk into a bowl and mix together. Beat in the olive oil with a fork and drip in a little lemon juice to give it an edge. Stir in the garlic and put to one side. If you want to make the mayonnaise from scratch, then do so, but food cooked on windy beaches or in boats calls for a clever cheat now and then.
  4. Drop the fish into the soup and jostle it under the water by shaking the pan a bit, also add the mussels. Once it is simmering again, cook for 2–4 minutes, so that the fish is only just done and still firm. Add the parsley to the soup.
  5. Ladle into bowls, stir in a large spoonful of the garlic mayonnaise and serve with good crusty bread or crostini.
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