Zuppa de Pescatore (Italian Fisherman's Soup)

Bold flavours, a bounty of seafood and pungent aioli-topped toasts make this glorious Italian soup from Mitch Tonks a winner anytime
By Mitch Tonks
Zuppa de Pescatore (Italian Fisherman's Soup)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the aioli

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • sea salt

For the zuppa

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 roasted tomatoes
  • pinches saffron
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • splashes Pernod
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 750 g mixed fish, such as lobster, clams, mussels, chunks of skate, steaks of hake, gurnard and cod
  • sea salt
  • handfuls parsley, or basil, chopped
  • grilled bread, to serve


1. To make the aioli, put the egg yolks in a bowl with the mustard and garlic. Add the olive oil in a slow steady stream, whisking continuously until the mixture becomes a thick emulsion.

2. Add the lemon juice, season with sea salt, and let it stand for an hour before serving.

3. To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the shallots and garlic until softened. Add the tomatoes, saffron and thyme and stir together.

4. Pour in the Pernod. Tip the saucepan towards the hob so that it catches alight and burns off the alcohol. Add the wine and simmer gently for 2 minutes.

5. Add the fish and enough water to cover. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the shellfish is tender and the white fish begins to flake slightly.

6. Remove the thyme and season to taste. Scatter with fresh chopped herbs and serve with grilled bread topped with the rich, garlicky aioli.

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