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
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.