Fish soup

Fish soup

1 h
A deliciously creamy fish soup made from a stock that you cook yourself. Fish stock is relatively quick to make (you just need some fish heads and bones) as it only needs to cook for 20-25 minutes, unlike meat stock which cooks for several hours. The fish soup becomes rich in flavour as the stock is boiled down, mixed with cream, and infused with fish and herbs.


Fish stock
  • Heat the oil in a large pan. Sauté the leek and carrot for about 1 minute.
  • Add the fish heads, fish bones and rest of the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook over a low heat, covered, for about 20 minutes.
  • Strain the soup through a sieve (with a cloth if necessary).
Fish soup
  • Reduce the fish stock over a low heat until you have about 600 ml. Add the whipped cream, salt and pepper.
  • Cut the fish into four equal pieces, gently add them to the soup and cook over a low heat for about 4 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the fish with a slotted spoon, keeping it warm.
  • Add the vegetables to the soup and cook over a low heat for about 3 minutes.
For serving
  • Place the warm fish pieces in four deep plates.
  • Divide the soup and vegetables, garnish with fennel and leek tops and serve with crispy croutons.

Fish soup

Can you overcook fish stock?
While there is no strict rule on how long you can cook fish stock for, most agree that you could end up with a cloudy, chalky broth if it’s left on the stove too long. Anything longer than 35 minutes also tends to leave a bitter taste, affecting the overall flavour of your soup. Keep in mind that it depends on the type of fish bones you use and some will need a longer cooking time than others to fully extract its fishy goodness. In general, a good rule of thumb is to turn off the heat when the head and bones start to fall apart.
Does fish soup taste fishy?
While this largely depends on the type of fish that you use, the best soups will have a distinct, but very delicate, fish flavour. You’re looking for an oh-so-subtle hint of fish essence that is perfectly balanced by the soup’s other ingredients.
Why is my fish soup bitter?
There are three culprits here. Overcooking your fish stock is the most common one, and anything longer than 35 minutes on the stove will start to develop a bitter flavour. If the fish’s gallbladder was pierced during the cleaning process and leaked onto the flesh, even the slightest remnant will cook into your broth and leave a bitter aftertaste. The fats of a not-so-fresh fish could also add a bitter note to your soup, not to mention pose a health risk if the ingredient is not at its freshest best.


Fish stock
Rapeseed oil
2 tbsp
Leek, coarsely chopped (about 150 g)
Carrot, coarsely chopped (about 75 g)
Cleaned fish heads and fish bones (preferably from lean fish like cod, saithe, or plaice)
500 g
Tomato, coarsely chopped (about 100 g)
Fresh thyme
2 sprigs
Fresh parsley
5 stalks
Small garlic clove
Bay leaf
Black peppercorns
Coriander seeds
1½ l
Fish soup
Whipped cream
250 ml
Coarse salt
1½ tsp
Freshly ground pepper
Fillet of cod, saithe, plaice, or other lean white fish
600 g
Carrots, diced (about 225 g)
Leeks or two bunches of spring onions, sliced into thin rings (about 200 g)
Small fennel, diced (about 200 g)
For serving
Fennel and leeks tops
150 g

The catch of the day keeps boredom away

With a fragrant and versatile stock as its base, this soup can be completely transformed every time you make it. The recipe’s lean white fish can be traded with any other catch of the day that has a high- to moderate firmness like rainbow trout, salmon, or mackerel. Make sure to avoid delicate varieties like sole as they tend to disintegrate in the broth. Adding seafood, anything from shellfish and molluscs to crustaceans is also an easy way to reinvent your dinner.

Add some colour to your soup

The bright green fennel and leek topping, combined with golden-brown croutons, should add all the colour you need to this recipe. For an even more impressive dish, why not turn the soup into a bisque by reducing it to a thicker consistency and serving over squid ink pasta? The contrast of inky black strands and white fish will be as much a feast for the eyes as for the palate. Another great way of adding both flavour and colour is safran. A few strands will add a luxurious taste and give the dish a wonderful yellow colour.