Fish Bisque

This is a delicate soup that is easy to make and has a wonderful flavour. The kipper fillets cooked in the stock add a faint smokiness, while fresh ginger contributes to the soup’s sharp flavour.


  • 750 g-1 kg (1½-2 lb) fish scraps
  • 1 kg (2 lb) kipper fillets, chopped roughly
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 carrots, left unpeeled and chopped roughly
  • 5 cm (2 in) piece fresh root ginger, unpeeled and chopped roughly
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1.8 litres (3 pints) water
  • 3-4 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 small red pepper, deseeded and sliced into very thin rings
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons double cream
  • 250 g (8 oz) large peeled cooked prawns
  • Handful of lovage, coriander or mint leaves, chopped roughly
  • Salt


To make the stock, put the fish scraps, kipper fillets, celeriac, onion, carrots, ginger, garlic and water in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add a little salt, the cayenne pepper and turmeric, cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 1 hour.

Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. If possible, refrigerate the soup overnight to make it easier to remove the fat before reheating the soup. Otherwise, remove the liquid fat with a large spoon or pieces of kitchen paper.

Return the soup to the heat. Add the pepper rings and bring slowly to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and continue simmering another 5 minutes to reduce the soup and intensify the flavours. Stir in the lemon juice and remove the saucepan from the heat.

Just before serving stir the double cream into the soup and taste, adjusting the seasoning, if necessary. Return the soup to the heat and bring to just below boiling point, then remove from the heat, stir in the prawns and chopped fresh herbs and serve immediately.