If you haven’t decided what to serve for dinner yet, allow me to help. This simple recipe for a fabulous French soupe de poisson is all you will need this evening. That, and a trip to the baker for a good baguette. Serve this summery soup with a crisp, vibrant Sauvignon Blanc.
2 tbsps mild olive oil
2 red onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of pink garlic, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
2 bay leaves
5 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped
800ml good quality fish stock
2 tbsps cognac
pinch of saffron
500g frozen seafood (I used a mix of prawns, scallops, mussels and cod)
pinch of fleur de sel (or ordinary salt)
4 tbsps cream
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onions, garlic, fennel, thyme and bay leaves. Cook on a gentle heat for approximately 10 minutes. Turn up the heat a bit and add the tomatoes and their juices. Also add the cognac.
Let this cook for a minute or two before adding the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the cream. Allow the soup to come to the boil, immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
At the end of the cooking time, remove the bay leaf, add the cream and blitz the soup, making sure it’s not too thin.
Serve with a swirl of cream.
Paola Westbeek is a food, wine and travel writer with a good dose of joie de vivre. She is passionate about French cooking, old-fashioned chansons, Rembrandt and life. Paola is available for all kinds of recipe development, food and wine writing, and culinary advice. For more information visit: inmylife-paola.blogspot.com