Smooth Ligurian Fish Soup


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is the easiest recipe for making a truly Italian-tasting velvety smooth fish soup. You can add whole cooked mussels or prawns if you wish, although the basic recipe as it appears here calls only for whole fish. The bread soaks up all the flavours and juices of the fish and is eaten at the end, once all the soup has been enjoyed. A lot of the flavour comes from the crushed bones of the fish, but you could bone the fish before using, if you prefer.


  • 120 ml/4 fl oz/½ cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, and 1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1.5 kg/ lb whole fish, such as cod, monkfish, haddock, plaice or flounder, cleaned
  • about 200 ml/7 fl oz/scant 1 cup fish stock
  • 12 slices ciabatta bread, toasted
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep pan, add the finely chopped garlic, parsley and the tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add all the fish and stir. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the fish stock.

  3. Cover tightly with a lid and simmer very gently for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, then pass through a sieve or strainer or food mill. Return to the heat for 10 minutes, until reduced and thickened a little.

  5. Rub the toasted bread with the whole garlic and place two slices in each bowl. Pour the soup over the bread and serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped parsley.