When I was growing up, this delicacy made with the ugliest fish I’d ever seen was a speciality of my father. He is a devoted sailor and amateur fisherman, and we spent our summers in the seaside village of Bayramoğlu, an hour from Istanbul. He’d go out on the water all day in his small boat, and come back with a catch that always included scorpionfish. They are bony and hard to clean, so there’s no point trying to turn them into fillets. Best to cook them before you remove the flesh.
Like many Turkish soups, this is enriched at the end with a terbiye —a word that translates as ‘teaching good manners’. The basic ingredients of a terbiye are egg and lemon, sometimes with yoğurt or flour added. Old-school chefs would call this ‘binding’ the soup, but we prefer to say we’re polishing it to perfection.
Clean the fish, removing the guts and gills. Place on a board and chop into three pieces.
Peel the potato, carrot and celeriac and roughly chop. Remove the leaves from the celery and set aside. Chop the celery stalk.
Strain the hot fish liquid into another pot and discard the bones, garlic and onion. Add the vegetables and bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Pick and chop the celery, dill and parsley, add to the original pan with the fish and mix together. Add the wine and boil vigorously for 2 minutes to let the alcohol evaporate. Add 250 ml (
Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Divide the fish into four bowls. Pour a ladle of the soup over each lump of fish. Drizzle a little lemony oil over each bowl and serve.
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