Quick and easy fish soup with warm Eastern Mediterranean spices, loads of fresh herbs, and a big splash of lemon juice. The perfect one-pot meal for any night of the week. Be sure to read through for important tips!
I have a thing for seafood in a warm, aromatic broth. Tasty, lean, and satisfying, it's the kind of warm-your-belly meal that won't leave you feeling heavy.
A few favorites here on the blog that fall under this category include: steamed clams, salmon soup with potatoes (so velvety and hearty), and Sicilian fish stew with garlic and capers. See, when you cook the Mediterranean way, you're bound to find many ways to fish soup--the seasoning possibilities are endless.
And today's easy fish soup recipe is another pot of goodness that is so worth a try. It's easy to make and loaded with warm Eastern Mediterranean spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric + a big finish of fresh herbs and lemon juice (do not skip the lemon juice, makes all the difference in adding a bit of zing to balance all the warm flavors). You'll want to serve it with some good bread to mop up the delicious, extra herby broth!
What kind of fish to use?
A moderately firm fish fillet such as halibut, cod, sea bass, or even red snapper will work in this fish stew. I like to use a combination of fish, this time it was sea bass and red snapper (both were filleted and the skins were removed).
Can you put frozen fish in fish soup?
If quality fresh fish is not available to you, you can use frozen wild fish. I prefer to thaw the fish in the fridge overnight and use it per the recipe, but you can add it to the soup while still frozen and allow the fish to thaw and fully cook in the soup (it will take a little bit longer, somewhere around 6 to 7 minutes or so)
You can also use shell fish like shrimp or bits of lobster tail in this recipe, added in with the fish toward the end of cooking time.
How do you make fish soup from scratch?
For those of us who are more visual, here is the step-by-step for how to make fish soup (the print-friendly recipe with the ingredient list is just below):
- Cut and season the fish
You're going to start by making a spice mixture of coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes (I used Aleppo pepper), turmeric, and paprika. Cut up the fish fillets into small chunks of equal size (about 1 to 1 ½ inch cubes), then give them a good toss with kosher salt, black pepper, and a couple teaspoons of your beautiful spice mixture. Set in the fridge for now.
- Make the broth
Grab a large pot or Dutch oven to make your tasty, aromatic broth. Start by cooking some chopped red onion, red bell pepper, celery and garlic in a bit of extra virgin olive oil until fragrant. Season with kosher salt and the rest of the spice mixture you used for the fish. Add canned whole tomatoes with their juices, white wine, and low-sodium vegetable stock (or chicken stock if that's what you have). Let the broth simmer for a good 20 minutes or so.
- Add the fish
When the broth is ready, slide the fish in and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with your fork (remember that fish cooks quickly, and it will continue to cook some in the hot broth even after you remove it from the heat).
- Finish with the fresh herbs and citrus
Stir in chopped fresh parsley and cilantro (about 1 cup each) and chopped green onions, both white and green parts. Finish with a splash of lemon juice.
What to serve with fish soup?
Remember that fish soup is best served right away so the fish does not overcook in the hot broth. I love to serve it with extra lemon wedges on the side (more citrus is never a bad idea when it comes to fish) and a good loaf of rustic, crusty bread to sop up all the brothy goodness! Or, if you like, you can serve this soup over a bed of quick-cooked couscous or your favorite grain. Add a big salad like balela salad or this Mediterranean three bean salad to start.
How to store leftovers?
If you have any fish soup left, allow it to cool completely then store it in the fridge in a tight-lid glass container for 2 to 3 days (this will depend on how fresh the fish was to begin with). To warm leftovers through, I like to remove the fish to cook the broth over medium heat, then add the fish in very briefly to warm through (it's hard to avoid overcooking the fish at this point, but the less time it spends cooking, the better)
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Mediterranean-Style Fish Soup Recipe
- 1 ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 ½ pounds moderately firm fish fillet, I used a combination of sea bass and red snapper, cut into chunks (1 ½ -inch pieces)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 28- ounce can whole tomatoes
- ½ cup white wine
- 4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock, preferably low-sodium
- 1 cup packed chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 green onions chopped (both white and green parts)
- 1 lemon juice of
- In a small bowl, mix the spices together.
- Season the fish with a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper and 2 to 3 teaspoons of the spice mixture; toss to coat.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic. Cook, tossing regularly, for 5 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Season with a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Add the remainder of the spice mixture.
- Add the tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot part-way and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley, cilantro, green onions. Finish with lemon juice. Serve immediate
- Which kind of fish fillet to use? A moderately firm fish fillet is good to use here. As mentioned in the recipe, I used a combination of sea bass and red snapper. Halibut and cod are also great options.
- Leftovers. Fish soup can be stored in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, depending on the freshness of the fish when you cooked it. To warm through, I like to remove the fish to first warm the broth well, then add in the fish very briefly so it doesn't spend too much time cooking.
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