Soupe de Poisson

Soupe de Poisson

courtesy of Wendy Jaeger, Bliss Travels

"My Soupe de Poisson recipe is a hybrid, and has been adapted for the U.S. It is also much quicker to make.  (I would never ever use tomato paste in France, but find it's a necessity to use here.) What I have done is make a broth that we eat with just the accompaniments -- or for more full and formal dining, it's a broth that we can add fish to it, to make it into a quasi-bouillabaisse. I do not strain it, just puree it. I prefer the fuller feel with the lighter flavor.  Mine is very light and vegetable oriented and I make a saffron and garlic aioli, because that is my preference and I am not a big lover of pepper." - Wendy

¼ cup olive oil

7-9 small garlic cloves, chopped

1 ½ cups of chopped sweet onion

2 ½ cups of chopped leek, white and light green only

1 cup of chopped fennel

4 ½ - 5 cups tomato (peeled, seeded and chopped)

¾ cups of white wine

12 cups water  (or fish stock)

3-5 Tablespoons of tomato paste, depending upon the flavor of the fresh tomatoes used above


Dried basil--optional

2 Tablespoons of fresh thyme, leaves only

¾ teaspoon of fennel seed

2 bay leaves

2 -2 inch strips of orange peel

¼ to ¾  teaspoon of saffron

salt and pepper


16 ounces filet of skinned flaky white fish, such as snapper, sole or halibut

Optional additional fish for poaching (a variety of bass, halibut, scallop, shrimp, mussels…are all good choices)


In a large soup pot, heat oil, then add garlic, stir for a moment, add onion, leek and fennel. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes until vegetables soften. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer mixture for 45 minutes to an hour. Use an immersion blender to thoroughly blend, after removing bay leaves.


Add the whitefish and bring soup to a slow boil, check seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Boil until fish is done, five minutes or so. Break up fish into fine flakes with a fork, or by pulsing the immersion blender just briefly.

If using additional fish, poach the fish at the last minute and add whole.


Using wide, shallow soup bowls, place poached fish on bottom of bowl, ladle hot soup over fish, and serve with croutons, aioli (garlic mayonnaise with saffron, white wine, lemon and salt), and shredded parmesan or comte cheese on the table.