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Saint Peter's Fish Soup

This fish soup is your ultimate winter companion.

Prep Time

    •    Prep time: about 2 hours
    •    Yield: Serves 6


    •    2 star anise
    •    1 onion, finely sliced
    •    Lemon juice, to taste
    •    Pinch saffron threads
    •    3 garlic cloves, crushed
    •    1/4 bunch thyme sprigs
    •    120ml extra virgin olive oil
    •    5 lemon thyme sprigs (optional)
    •    1 small fennel bulb, finely sliced
    •    1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly toasted
    •    2 tbsps tomatoes, roughly chopped
    •    Shells and heads of 10 king prawns
    •    1 whole red spot, whiting, cleaned, scaled
    •    1 small crab (blue swimmer, brown or sand are ideal)
    •    4 dried ground bush tomato (substitute for a little smoked paprika, optional)
    •    1 small whole leather jacket or triggerfish, red mullet, red gurnard, blue spot flathead or bream, cleaned, scaled


    •    5 garlic cloves
    •    Lemon juice, to taste
    •    1/4 tsp smoked paprika
    •    Pinch of saffron threads
    •    2 potatoes, peeled, diced
    •    210ml extra virgin olive oil
    •    50g roasted macadamia nuts
    •    1 long red chilli, seeds removed
    •    1 red capsicum, roasted, peeled
    •    2 dried ground bush tomatoes (optional)

Finishing Garnishes:

    •    50g ghee
    •    200g John Dory roe fish
    •    250g best available fish liver
    •    10 king prawns, peeled deveined
    •    5 x 120g red mullet, cleaned, scaled
    •    500g pipis or clams, desanded (purged)
    •    400g cuttlefish or squid tentacles, cleaned
    •    500g small waxy potatoes, such as Dutch cream or bintje, skin on

To serve:

    •    1 good quality rye bread loaf
    •    250g mixed herb salad leaves
    •    100g good quality cold salted cultured butter


  1. To make the soup base, using a sharp cleaver, chop the fish into small pieces.

  2. In a large, wide, heavy-based pot, heat 100ml olive oil and fry the crab and prawn shells and heads for 10–12 minutes or until coloured. Set aside in a bowl.

  3. Return the pot to a medium heat, and using the same oil, add the chopped fish. Season with a big pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes or until coloured all over. Set aside with the shellfish.

  4. Using a wide barbecue scraper, scrape off the caramelised fish from the base of the pan and set aside with the fish. Add the remaining 1 tbs olive oil and heat over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, then increase heat to high, add the garlic and fennel and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add all fish and shellfish, along with the remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, and cover with water. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. As soon as it’s boiling, uncover and cook over high heat for 20 minutes.

  5. Pass the stock through a mouli or pulse in a food processor, then strain and season well with salt, lemon juice and pepper.

  6. For the rouille, place all ingredients, except the olive oil and lemon juice, in a stainless-steel saucepan, pour in enough of the fish soup to cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the potato is very soft. Drain, reserving the liquid. Blend the potato in a food processor with 40ml of the reserved liquid to a smooth puree, then gradually whisk in the olive oil. When the sauce is thick and silky, season well with salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.

  7. Divide the rest of the soup between a large and a medium saucepan. Add the potatoes to the medium pan and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender, then set aside.

  8. Bring the soup base in the large pan to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the mullet, John Dory roe and tentacles. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Set the fish aside on a plate.

  9. Return the soup base to the boil, then remove from the heat, add the pipis and prawns and cook for 3 minutes. Take the pipis out when they open. Reserve the shellfish alongside the fish on a plate.

  10. Heat the ghee in a frypan over a high heat. Sauté the fish liver until golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute. Be careful not to overcook the liver.

  11. To bring the whole dish together, build the cooked ingredients in a large bowl. Bring the soup base, that has poached all the seafood, back to a simmer and pour a generous amount over the dish. Serve with bread, butter, a green salad and the rouille.

This great family recipe is thanks to delicious Recipes at


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