provençal fish soup

This is one of my all time favorite soups.
I’ve been making this recipe from an old Williams-Sonoma soup cookbook for many years.
Serve with some crusty bread and a green salad and you’ve got a perfect meal.


Provençal Fish Soup

1/2 t saffron threads
3 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 leek, including tender green parts, trimmed, carefully washed + thinly sliced
1/2 c diced celery
1/4 t hot paprika
3 boiling potatoes, cut into cubes
3 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 fresh parley sprigs
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 long thin strips orange zest
1 bay leaf
5 c water
1 c dry white wine
fresh ground pepper
2 1/2 lbs assorted white fish filets, such as snapper, *sea bass, halibut + cod.
cut into 1-2″ pieces
*I highly recommend using between 1/2-1 lb. of sea bass, it gives it a great flavor

Put the saffron threads + a pinch of salt in a metal kitchen spoon.
Hold the spoon over heat for a few seconds, then use the back of a teaspoon
to crush the threads into a power.  Set aside.
Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic, onion, leek, celery + paprika + sauté, stirring continually, for 2-3 minutes.
Add the potatoes, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, orange zest + bay leaf.
Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
Add the crushed saffron, water, wine + salt + pepper to taste.
Cover + simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the fish to the pot + simmer, uncovered until cooked throughout, 10-15 minutes more,
adding more water if necessary, to keep the fish covered.
Discard the bay leaf.  Adjust the seasoning + serve in warmed bowls.
Serves 4-6

1 comment
  1. Lynn said:

    Thank you for this recipe! Darren and I used to walk to Tartine- our fave french restaurant in Sellwood back in the Portland pre-child days. I was all about a yummy fish soup with a delicate saffron broth. I had a hard time ordering anything else. I still yearn for that soup. I had it the night before I went into labor with Delainey! It might have been the walk but the soup helped too.

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