A Different Fish Soup (With Sea Urchin Roe & Rouille)

Spring is the perfect time to get excited about the GORGEOUS FRESH FISH we have access to on our coasts, and this DELICIOUS RECIPE for fish soup with sea urchin roe and rouille from TRISH DESEINE  is a definite winner …

I’m at my house in the Languedoc this week, having a lovely time picking up tips and recipes for my Irish summer. This one comes straight from the fishmonger at nearby Capestang market, and it’s a keeper! In the South of France they sell a mix of small fish simply known as “soupe”, especially for this purpose. But you can use a mix of smaller and cheaper types in Ireland. Just avoid oily fish.

Equally, you can make a “base soup” as a poaching liquid with small fish and heads and then use it to simmer finer pieces or fillets for just a few minutes before serving. If you do not have a potato ricer, pull up your sleeves and push the softened soup contents through a sieve.


For 2 / 15 minutes preparation / 25 minutes cooking

  • 500g small fish – pollock, whiting, red gurnurd, ling, monkfish…
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • A stick of celery
  • 2 carrot
  • olive oil, salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Pinch of saffron and/or paprika
  • 200ml white wine
  • Day old baguette or sourdough
  • Small pot of rouille, 2 or 3 sea urchins (optional)

1. Have your fishmonger prepare the fish by gutting them and removing the tails and fins. Keep the heads!

2. Dice the vegetables finely and soften them gently in a pan with some olive oil for five minutes or so.

3. Once softened, add the tomato paste, stir and cook for a few minutes.

4. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring and scraping as you go. Bring to a simmer, pop the fish in, adding a little water if necessary to cover everything.

5. Leave to simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, until the flesh is falling from the fish.

6. Remove from the heat and push the soup through a potato ricer. You want the soft pieces to be liquidized but not the bigger bones.

7. Season and serve with toasted bread croutons, topped with rouille and sea urchin roe.

Image and styling by Trish Deseine


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