Marseille Fish Soup - Soupe de Poissons
You will want to make a big batch and freeze what you don’t eat. Making fish soup at home can be a very messy, labor-intensive process. Trust me, you will thank me later for this advice. I usually make a few gallons and then freeze leftovers in quart sized mason jars ready to use at a moments call.
For the Soup Base:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 Onions sliced
- 1/2 Bulb Fennel chopped
- 6 Garlic Cloves mashed
- 1 Hot Pepper
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 tsp Saffron
- 1 Dungeness Crab crushed
- 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes
- 2 lbs Fish Fillets see note
- 1/4 cup Pastis
For the Rouille:
- 1/4 cup Egg Yolks
- 3 tbsp garlic crushed
- 2 large pinches Saffron
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1/2 cup Sriracha Red Rooster Hot Sauce
- 3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 cup olive oil
Finishing the Soup:
- 1 cup Rouille
- 16 Croûtons rubbed with garlic
- 1 cup Grated Gruyère
For the Soup Base:
Heat the olive oil in large, heavy gauge pot. Saute sliced onions and fennel until softened and translucent, about five minutes.
Add mashed garlic, hot pepper, bay leaf, saffron, and crushed Dungeness crab. Continue cooking till the pleasant aromas of garlic fill your kitchen and the crab shells begin to turn red.
Crush the tomatoes and add along with their juice, fish fillets and top with enough cold water to cover by an inch.
Bring to boil, then lower to a simmer for thirty minutes.
Strain your soup. Run all the solids through a food mill to extract every ounce of flavor. The body of the soup comes from what gets passed through the mill and is added back to the broth. NOTE: I generally discard the harder crab shells as they tend to get stuck in the food mill.
To make Rouille:
Puree everything except olive oil in a food processor.
Add oil slowly like you were making mayonnaise or aioli.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed
Serving the Soup:
Adjust the seasonings and serve in heated bowls with grated Gruyère, croûtons, and plenty of rouille on the side. FLAVOR NOTE: Fish soup should be strongly flavored and assertive. There should be a slight heat, lots of saffron, and a touch of Pastis. If your broth is too thin you can thicken slightly with cornstarch though that is completely non-Provencal.
Fish: Make sure to use at least one fish that has some gelatin in it. I use rockfish from the Pacific Northwest to give the soup the body it needs.
Rouille: There are a million variations of rouille. The version listed below will give you the same flavors found at most restaurants serving rouille. Remember, people eat results — not methods. I sometimes add some boiled potato for adding body. In the end, whisk in a touch of your fish soup to give more flavor to your rouille. Make a big batch of rouille and try eating it with almost everything you can imagine — vegetables, cold roast pork, chicken, on sandwiches.