Zuppa di Pesce Passato

Puree of Fish and Potato Soup

This rich puree of fish and fish stock thickened with potato is often flavored with a pinch of saffron. Although the recipe is adapted from one that appears in La cucina nella tradizione ebraica, it resembles the Provençal soupe de poisson, minus the rouille.


  • 2 pounds assorted mild white fish fillets
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Grilled bread or broken pieces of matzoh


Put the fish and potato into a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until both of them are tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish and potato to a food processor and puree, or pass them through a food mill placed over a bowl. Then pass the puree through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl. Reserve the puree and cooking liquid.

Warm the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, and onions and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the parsley, the fish puree, the reserved cooking liquid, and the saffron (if using). Stir well and bring just to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle into shallow soup bowls and garnish with croutons of grilled bread or pieces of matzoh and additional chopped parsley.