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Fish Soup with Saffron and Fennel

This rustic, Mediterranean-style fish soup – robustly flavoured with brandy, orange, and fennel – is simple to prepare and sure to please.

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  1. 1

    Heat the butter with 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, deep pan. Stir in the fennel, garlic, and leek, and fry over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned.

  2. 2

    Stir in the tomatoes, add the brandy, and boil rapidly for 2 minutes, or until the juices are reduced slightly. Stir in the saffron, orange zest, bay leaf, fish stock, and potatoes. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and skim off any scum from the surface. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the bay leaf.

  3. 3

    Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil with the wine in a large deep pan until boiling. Add the mussels, cover, and continue on high heat for 2–3 minutes, shaking the pan often. Discard any mussels that do not open. Strain, reserving the liquid, and set the mussels aside.

  4. 4

    Add the liquid to the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, add the monkfish pieces and prawns, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 5 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked and the prawns are pink. Add the mussels to the pan and bring almost to the boil.

  5. 5

    Serve the soup sprinkled with chopped parsley.


  • 30g butter,
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb , finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tbsp Brandy
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads, infused in a little hot water
  • ½ orange , zest
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.7 litres fish stock ,
  • 300g potatoes, diced and parboiled for 5 minutes
  • 4 tbsp dry white wine
  • 500g black mussels , fresh , scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper, freshly ground
  • 500g monkfish , cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 6 tiger prawns , raw whole
  • 1 handful parsley , chopped, to garnish

Serves 6

Total time required Total time:

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19 products

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Recipe published with permission from © Dorling Kindersley Limited. The Cooking Book 2008


The Cooking Book

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