Making this soup is simplicity itself, although the flavor suggests it is the product of painstaking preparation and cooking.

  • 1 kg / 2¼ lb mixed fish
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red (bell) pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 150 g / 5 oz / ⅔ cup tomato puree (paste)
  • 1 large fresh bouquet garni, containing 3 parsley sprigs, 3 celery sticks, and 3 bay leaves
  • 300 ml / ½ pint / 1¼ cups white wine
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • For the rouille
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 thick slice of white bread, crust removed, soaked in water and squeezed dry
  • 1 fresh red chili, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and cayenne pepper
  • For the garnish
  • 12 slices of baguette, toasted in the oven
  • 50 g / 2 oz / ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
  1. Cut the fish into 7.5cm/3in chunks, removing any obvious bones. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan, then add the fish, onion, carrot, leek, tomatoes, and red pepper. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to color.
  2. Add all the other soup ingredients, then pour in just enough cold water to cover the mixture. Season well and bring to just below boiling point, then lower the heat to a bare simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, make the rouille. Put the garlic and coarse salt in a mortar and crush to a paste with a pestle. Add the soaked bread and chili and pound until smooth, or puree in a food processor. Whisk in the olive oil, a drop at a time, to make a smooth, shiny sauce that resembles mayonnaise. Season with salt and add a pinch of cayenne if you like a fiery taste. Set the rouille aside.
  4. Lift out and discard the bouquet garni from the soup. Puree the soup in batches in a food processor, then strain through a fine sieve placed over a clean pan, pushing the solids through with the back of a ladle.
  5. Reheat the soup without letting it boil. Check the seasoning and ladle into individual bowls. Top each serving with two slices of toasted baguette, a spoonful of rouille and some grated Gruyere.
    Any firm fish can be used for this recipe. If you use whole fish, include the heads, which enhance the flavor of the soup.
Fish Soup With Rouille