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.
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).
© 2001 Darina Allen. All rights reserved.