Fantastic recipe for Mediterranean Chunky Fish soup


100g live mussels

5 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil

1/2 onion, finely diced

2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/4 fennel bulb, finely diced

1 carrot, peeled, finely diced

15g tomato puree

2 star anise

Pinch of saffron threads

Pinch of cayenne pepper

100ml white wine

50ml Pernod

½ tsp brown sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

500g fish, such as hake, cod, bream or mullet, cut into chunks

100g garlic mayonnaise

90g   grated  Gruyere


Wash the mussels in cold water, scrubbing the shells. Pull away the fibrous beards and rinse thoroughly to remove any sand. Discard any broken ones.


Heat 2 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic, fennel and carrot and gently cook for ten minutes. Add the tomato puree, star anise, saffron and cayenne pepper and cook for two to three minutes. Add the brown sugar, white wine and Pernod, bring to the boil.


Heat the rest of the olive oil in a frying pan. Season the chunks of fish and cook for two minutes until caramelised. Add to the soup along with the mussels. Simmer for five minutes or until the mussels open (discard any that stay closed).


Serve in bowls with a dollop of garlic mayonnaise in each and scattered with   grated  Gruyere cheese. Provide crusty bread to mop up the juices.


Variation: Try making this soup without the tomato juice. You’ll be left with a delicious Mediterranean sauce for fish like sea bass or red mullet. It’s also fantastic with scallops.