If ever you find yourself in Stockholm at the Food-hall (Saluhall) at lunchtime you will do well to join the local shoppers and office workers in a bowl of fish soup. Swedes like to eat lunch early, we’re talking midday or even earlier! You’ll find yourself sitting at a table where you will be jostled by shoppers laden with bags of Gravlax, smoked reindeer and dark rye bread. With an ivory-hue and topped with several large sprigs of dill, the soup is made in the market in kitchens as small as a broom cupboard. I can’t think of eating anything better on a cold day, delicious, filling and nutritious.
This is my version of the classic Swedish fish soup. It’s a simple recipe, full of big pieces of cod, and juicy north Atlantic prawns all combined in a perfectly balanced creamy broth. A delicious comforting dish, a little bit stew, a little bit soup! The perfect Fish Soup recipe.
Swedish Fish Soup with Saffron Rouille
- 1 Medium Fennel outer layer and root removed, keep for the stock
- 1 Medium Leek White part for the soup, green for the stock
- 150 g Carrot keep the peelings and trimmings
- 250 g Potato use a waxy variety
- 2 Cloves of Garlic sliced
- 1 Small bunch of Dill
- 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 300 ml Dry White Wine
- 450 ml Fish Stock made from the prawn shells
- 200 ml Whipping Cream
- 350 g Whole North Atlantic Prawns
- 500 g Thick End Cod Fillet skinned weight
- 1 Tbls Butter
- 50 ml Olive Oil
- 50 ml Sunflower Oil
- 1 Large Clove Garlic
- A Good Pinch of Saffron
- 1 Slice of White Bread crust removed or 2 tbls fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 Egg Yolk
- a Squeeze of Lemon
- a Pinch of Cayenne
- Salt & pepper
- Begin by making the rouille. Soak the slice of bread in a couple of tablespoons of water. Once the water has been absorbed, squeeze out the excess water with your hands and place in a bowl (if you're using fresh breadcrumbs just pop them into the bowl) with the egg yolk, garlic, a squeeze of lemon and the cayenne.
- Grind the saffron in a pestle and mortar and then add a teaspoon of warm water to the saffron, set to one side. With an electric hand whisk at medium speed start drizzling the oil drop by drop initially into the bowl and then a slow stream, once half of the oil has been added, pour in the saffron mixture, whisk in the remaining oil gradually. You should find the sauce thicken as you whisk. Add a few more drops of lemon juice if needed and season to taste. Set to one side.
- Start by peeling the prawns, keeping the shells to make a fish stock. Once peeled set the prawns to one side and make a simple fish stock. Put the prawn shells in a saucepan with the green part of the leek and the carrot peelings and any fennel trimmings. Add 500ml water and simmer for 20 minutes, no longer. Strain you should have approximately 450mls of stock.
- Cut the white part of the leek into a 1cm dice, do the same with the potato, fennel and carrot. Slice the garlic. Have a large saucepan ready with a little olive oil and butter heating, add the fennel seeds, leeks, fennel, garlic and saute until soft but with no colour. Add the potato, carrot and saute for a further 4-5 minutes. Now add the white wine and bring to a simmer, cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock and cream, simmer for a further 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Check the seasoning.
- Cut the cod into large dice. When you’re ready to serve bring the soup to a gentle simmer, carefully drop the cod into the soup, submerging the fish in the liquid, very gently poach the fish for 5 minutes, no longer. Now add the prawns and carefully fold them into the soup. Serve in deep bowls and top with a big piece of dill and a dollop of rouille or slather the rouille on a very thin slice of sourdough toast.
In the autumn months I like to add wild mushrooms, I love chanterelles and they work perfectly in this soup.