North Sea Fish Soup

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

Cooking at the Merchant House

By Shaun Hill

Published 2000

  • About

Most fish soups have great-tasting broth, but also seafood pieces with a lousy texture. Prolonged cooking does no favours to seafood. This recipe has the freshness and immediacy of just-cooked fish and, in order to succeed, must be made only just before needed. The selection of seafood given here is a guideline only – it is the technique that produces the dish and within reason, the more types and textures of fish you can use in this soup, the better.


For the Soup

  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) mixed fish fillets and shellfish, such as cod, sea bass, red mullet and scallops
  • 600ml (21fl oz/2⅔ cups) chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • the juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon double (heavy) cream
  • 50g (2 oz/½ cup) cooked whole prawns, shelled
  • 1 tomato, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

For the Croûtons

  • 1 slice white bread
  • a little olive oil, for frying


To make the croûtons, dice the bread and fry the cubes in the olive oil until golden. Set aside until needed.

Cut the mixed fish and shellfish (not the prawns) into chunks. Meanwhile, bring the stock, white wine and shallots to the boil in a soup pot.

Season the fish and shellfish with lemon juice, salt and pepper, then add them to the pot in the order in which they take to cook – bass first, then cod and mullet and, lastly, scallops.

In a small bowl, stir the egg yolk and cream together. Turn off the direct heat under the soup and whisk in the cream mixture.

Stir in the prawns, chopped tomato and parsley, and finally the croûtons. Serve the soup immediately.