Aromatic Fish Soup with Saffron and Aniseed

Rose Prince's aromatic fish broth combines hints of aniseed, saffron and fennel, to magnificent effect
Aromatic Fish Soup with Saffron and Aniseed
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the shellfish stock

  • 30 raw prawn shells, (or 10 langoustine shells)
  • 1 stick celery

For the soup

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250 ml white wine
  • pinches strands saffron
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 tbsp passata
  • 250 g selection of seasonal vegetables, such as podded broad beans, small sticks of courgettes, string beans
  • 3 tbsp aniseed liqueur, such as Ricard

To serve

  • country bread
  • rouille, (a paste made from red peppers and garlic, available in delis)
  • gruyère cheese, grated


1. For the shellfish stock, dry-fry the shells until opaque. Tip into a large saucepan with the chopped celery and 1 litre of water.

2. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, before straining through a fine sieve. You can freeze the stock at this stage and keep it for up to 3 months.

3. To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the fennel, onions and garlic and cook until softened. Pour in the wine and cook for another minute, before adding the stock and saffron.

4. Crush the fennel and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar, and tip into the soup. Pour in the passata, and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add the spring vegetables and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Stir in the liqueur just before serving.

5. Serve with a slice of toasted country bread spread with rouille and topped with grated gruyère cheese.

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