Soupe De Poissons: French Fish Soup

Submitted by Liz Novak on Wed, 10/14/2015 - 20:39


This delicately flavored soup is served with Gruyere or Emmenthal Cheese, crunchy herbed croutons, and rouille (which is a garlicky, mayonnaise). All these little extras make this a the perfect comfort food. Add cheese or bread to anything, and I’m always more comforted!

The first time I had this soup, I ran out of the rain into a French bistro. I remember warming my hands on the bowl and loving the smell of the mild spice and thyme. When I asked my server what was in the “fish soup,” the woman looked down at me incredulously and said “fish.”

I’ve been chasing the soup recipe ever since. Luckily on Cape Cod we have plenty of fish to practice with, and I think I’ve finally got it right.

This mildly spicy, pureed soup has such a finesse that you would never know it was made in one simple pot.



  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1lb Cod or Haddock
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green onions (minus top dark green parts), chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig of sage
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 strips orange peel
  • 1 lb tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 12 saffron strands


  1. Soak the saffron in 2 tablespoons of water.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add both types of onions and the garlic. Stir over medium heat until fragrant and the onions begin to become translucent (about 5-8 mins).
    Add the tomatoes, paste, wine, fennel, fish, orange peel, and herbs. To make things easier later, I recommend tying your herbs together with some cooking string or cheesecloth. Add water until everything is covered, about 4 cups. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 hours. Add more water if necessary.
  3. Remove the herbs and orange peel. Puree the soup with a handheld emulsifier or in a food processor. Add the saffron. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve with Gruyere or Emmenthal Cheese, croutons, and rouille.



  • 1/4 loaf of French bread (crust removed)
  • fish broth (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 peeled garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 saffron threads
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon

Place the bread in a bowl and soak in the fish broth for 10 minutes. Wring out the bread of liquid and add the bread to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.


See my recipe for homemade herbed croutons.



I've been coming back and forth to this recipe until I finally decided to give it a try the other day. Not sure if I made it right because it didn't look quite exactly like it, but it tasted... De-le-cious. If my spoiled attempt tasted this good I can't imagine how yours was like... Thank you.

Conor Craig,
not a very good cook,
technician for


Love this soup

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