Mediterranean Fish Soup with Rouille

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • serves


Appears in

Darina Allen's Simply Delicious Suppers

Darina Allen's Simply Delicious Suppers

By Darina Allen

Published 2001

  • About

Fish soups can be made with all sorts of combinations of fish. Don’t be the least bit bothered if you haven’t got exactly the fish I suggest, but use a combination of whole fish and shellfish. The crab adds almost essential richness in my opinion.


  • 2.5 kg mixed fish – e.g. 1 whole plaice, ½ cod, 2 small whiting, 3 swimming crab or 1 common crab, 6–8 mussels, 8–10 shrimps or prawns
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 300 g finely chopped onion
  • 5 large very ripe tomatoes or 1 × 400 g tin tomatoes, sliced
  • 5 sprigs of fennel
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • home-made fish stock or water to cover
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron strands
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of cayenne


Cut the fish into chunks, bones, head and all (remove gills first). Heat the olive oil until smoking, add garlic and onions, toss for a minute or two, add the sliced tomatoes, herbs and fish including shells, cook for 10 minutes, then add enough fish stock or water to cover. Bring to a fast boil and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add more liquid if it reduces too much.

Soak the saffron strands in a little fish stock. Pick out the mussel shells. Taste, add salt, freshly ground pepper, cayenne, saffron and soaking liquid. Push the soup through a mouli (this may seem like an impossible task but you’ll be surprised how effective it will be – there will be just a mass of dry bones left which you discard).