I started this blog a year ago and it’s time that I added one of my favourite soups, usually eaten in Summer, at a table overlooking the Mediterranean, either in Provence or in Corsica.
It will be difficult to source the “poissons de roche” (fish found hiding in rocks on the Mediterranean coast) but a little chat with the fishmonger will help me choose fish which will provide a tasty alternative.
It is not a Bouillabaisse, the speciality of Marseille, but it is very popular.
Croûtons, rubbed with raw garlic and covered with rouille (see recipe further) are served with this soup, also sprinkled with a generous amount of grated Emmental cheese.
Although it is usually served as a starter, I like it so much I eat two small tureens of it and then just have a dessert to follow.
The smell of this soup alone evokes hot Summers and holidays, so it is worth taking the time and making the effort to prepare it.
If you can, make a large quantity as it freezes well.
1kg small rock fish, if possible, or any small fish, gutted but with their heads
1/2 kg ripe fresh tomatoes or 500g tin chopped tomatoes
2 small leeks, whites only, washed and sliced thinly
1 big onion, peeled and sliced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
A handful flat leaf parsley
50ml olive oil
For the rouille:
50ml olive oil
2 slices white bread, crust removed and made into crumbs
1 small chilli, cut in half and de-seeded
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1. Ask your fishmonger to remove the fish scales and de-gut the fish. Leave the heads on.
Rinse the fish and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Warm the olive oil in a big cooking pot and add the onion and garlic. When they are golden, add the tomatoes, fennel, parsley, bay leaf, saffron, salt and pepper. Lastly, add the fish.
3. Stir for 3 minutes, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add 2 litres of boiling water, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the rouille:
In a blender, put the garlic, chilli, saffron, bread, olive oil, salt and whizz.
You should obtain a thick, fragrant sauce, rust coloured, hence the name rouille.
4. When the soup is cooked, use a stick blender and whizz.
Filter through a very fine sieve twice. Pour it back into the big cooking pot and warm it up gently. Do not allow it to boil.
5. Serve immediately in a big tureen or individual ones with croûtons, grated Emmental cheese and whole garlic cloves.