Fish Soup

Soupe de Poisson


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

My Paris Market Cookbook

My Paris Market Cookbook

By Emily Dilling

Published 2015

  • About

This recipe is not for the faint of heart. If you’re squeamish about handling fish heads and fins, you may want to abstain. With that said, this is a fun and hands-on meal to make. I’ve often seen the least likely of dinner guests get excited about participating in the process, stewing fish heads then grinding them into a thick broth that makes a hearty and delicious soup and embraces fin-to-tail cuisine.

Fish soup is a specialty of Marseille, but is served around the country, with variations being embraced as far as Normandy and Brittany. Work with your fishmonger to put together a selection of seasonal fish that will make a delicious—and show stopping—fish soup. Good fish to include in the soup are red mullet, bream, and scorpion fish. Make sure to ask that the vendor guts and fillets the fish for you—that’s tricky work! This soup is traditionally served with croutons that are topped with Rouille and then sprinkled with grated Gruyère cheese.


  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ slices
  • 2 yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium leek, cut into ½ slices
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped (or one 16 oz. canned tomatoes)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds (1 kilo) fresh whole fish, such as red mullet, bream, and scorpion fish. This should be a mixture of both fillets (ask your fishmonger to fillet the fish for you if you don’t know how to do it) and the frame (head, tail, fins, etc.) of the fish.



Place carrots, potatoes, leek, tomatoes, and onion in a large stockpot and cover with water. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Bring water to boil and then reduce to simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Cut fish fillets into uniform-sized pieces, about 2 inches large. Add fish fillets and frames into the simmering water. Cover and cook for 30–45 minutes, until vegetables are tender and the fish is cooked, and the flesh has fallen off the fish frames.

Remove stockpot from heat and use a slotted spoon to extract large pieces of fish frames from the broth; these can either be discarded or saved to make a lighter fish broth later. Transfer the boneless broth in batches to a hand mill and mill the stock into a large soup pot. Once all the stock has been liquefied, reheat in soup pot and serve hot with croutons, rouille, and grated Gruyère.

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