Fish Soup for Supper

The Catch 1997 Oil on canvas, 72 x 48 inches

I keep a good stock of favorite ingredients in the pantry, fridge and freezer so when time comes for supper, I can count on finding the makings of a delicious meal.

The other day I had my five o’clock writing meeting and hadn’t made a plan for dinner afterwards. What can I cook? It was a cool, grey day so soup sounded good. Something hearty enough to be the whole meal with corn muffins or garlic bread on the side. I remembered my trusty fish soup recipe, a simple, delicious dish. I had a head of fennel in the veggie drawer and onions in the pantry. With a can of fire roasted tomatoes, frozen pollock and shrimp, dinner was all set. Plus I could make the soup base in the afternoon and add the fish and shrimp just before we ate.

If you are using frozen fish and shrimp, thaw them first. I used about 2/3 pound of frozen pollock fillets and 6 large shrimp for two generous servings. We had a bit leftover for the next day’s lunch. This recipe is adaptable to whatever you have available. Use basil, tarragon or parsley instead of fennel, another variety of fish or scallops. Add green chilé, celery, red peppers or potatoes. But do try this delicious version first.

A simple fish soup

Chop an onion and a head of fennel into thin slices that will fit on a soup spoon. Sauté these in a tablespoon of olive oil in a deep pot until translucent and almost tender. Add a couple cloves of garlic, smashed and minced, a teaspoon of fennel seeds and a big pinch of hot red pepper flakes. Pour in a 15 ounce tin of tomatoes, either pureed or chopped. Then add 4 cups fish stock, vegetable stock, or water. (I make a simple shrimp stock. Cook shrimp shells in 4 cups of water, with a hunk of the fennel top and a bit of onion, simmer for 30 minutes then strain.)


Shrimp stock

Bring the soup base to a boil then lower the heat and cook over medium-low for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

At dinner time, reheat the soup and add ½ – 1 pound of fish cut in 1-inch slices – pollock, cod or other white fish – and ½ pound of peeled shrimp cut into 1-inch pieces. Simmer until just cooked, 3-5 minutes. Garnish each bowl of soup with chopped fennel fronds or parsley. I had leftover salsa verde to top ours.

We had corn muffins along side. Go to for the recipe.

One thought on “Fish Soup for Supper

  1. Is that Hiroki with Red? I’ve not seen that painting before. I love it when you include one of your works with your post. And the soup looks delicious for a chilly night.


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