Skip to main content

Fish Soup

You must have read somewhere there’s no good fish soup without that verboten shellfish, but wait until you taste this one! It simply has too much going for it to be missing anything. I eliminate the broth-making step by wrapping the heads and tails of fish loosely in (look out for those expandable muslin bags: Fill them up like a sock, and tie the open end!), cooking them right along with the soup and then discarding them
without any mess. Cooking the soup with the heads intensifies its flavor and imparts a light gelatinous texture. This is every bit as interesting as the traditional French version containing shellfish: Besides, the Moroccan version never had any.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 12 ServingsServings


  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large leeks, sliced
  • 4 ribs celery, peeled and cut in thirds
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut in chunks Head and tail of a large salmon, tile fish, or any other big fish, quartered, loosely but securely wrapped in cheesecloth
  • 4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 large potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • Good pinch ground cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 good pinches saffron
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) water
  • 3 -4 pounds boneless, skinless fish such as salmon, tile, or snapper, cut in 1-inch cubes Freshly ground pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a wide heavy pot. Coarsely grind the leeks, celery, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and red bell pepper in a food processor. Add to the oil. Sauté the ground mixture until all liquids evaporate. Add the cheesecloth, canned tomatoes, potatoes, wine, cayenne, cloves, bay leaves, paprika, saffron, salt, and water. Bring to a boil again.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered for 45 minutes. Add the fish and pepper, and cook another few minutes, just until the fish is cooked through. Press on the cheesecloth to release as much liquid as you can before discarding. Adjust the texture and seasonings.

As seen in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine (Bitayavon Spring 2012) - Subscribe Now