• 1 small baguette
  • olive oil
  • 250g mussels, cleaned
  • 4 large tiger prawns, and de-veined
  • 750g red mullet, chop the rest into small pieces
  • 750g gurnard or hake, chop the rest into small pieces
  • 250g (use the mullet and gurnard trimmings) fish or shellfish trimmings
  • ¼ bulb fennel, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 small leek,   chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs of each thyme or tarragon or dill or parsley, to serve
  • 1 juniper berry
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • a thumb-sized piece ginger, chopped
  • ½ bulb garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 200g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 300ml white wine, plus a splash for the mussels
  • 100g tomato purée
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 litres fish boullion or stock
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • olive oil
  • ½ vegetable stock cube
  • 250g baby new potatoes, washed and halved
  • a pinch saffron
  • a good pinch saffron
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ small mild chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 25g Bread
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 75ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • a pinch cayenne pepper
  • a squeeze lemon juice


  • STEP 1

    To make the croutons, heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Slice the baguette into very thin slices and place onto a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Bake for 5 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool.

  • STEP 2

    Heat 50ml olive oil in a large stock pan, add the chopped fish, fennel, onion, leek and celery and fry for a few minutes. Add the chopped peppers, herbs, spices, ginger, garlic and chopped potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.

  • STEP 3

    Add the white wine, tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and fish stock. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum that rises to the surface, and simmer the soup for 1½ hours.

  • STEP 4

    Meanwhile confit the fennel. Trim the fennel bulb and cut into 4-6 equal pieces. Cover with olive oil in a small deep pan until the fennel is submerged. Season and simmer. Cook gently for 10 minutes, then drain and leave to cool.

  • STEP 5

    To make the potatoes, dissolve the vegetable stock cube in boiling water with a pinch of saffron. Add the potatoes and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Strain and cool.

  • STEP 6

    Blitz the soup with a stick blender very briefly, to liquidise about 1/3. Strain the soup through a sieve into a clean pan, pushing through well, and season. Bring to a simmer.

  • STEP 7

    Remove 50ml of the soup, and transfer to another pan. To make the rouille simmer the saffron, garlic and chilli in the 50ml fish soup for a couple of minutes until the garlic is soft, then break the bread into the soup and stir well so it soaks up the liquid. Remove it from the heat and allow to cool a little. Pour the mixture into a blender and blitz with the egg yolk.

  • STEP 8

    Slowly trickle in the oil, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides. When blended and thick, season the mixture with salt, cayenne and lemon juice. Give the rouille a final blend, then transfer to a bowl.

  • STEP 9

    Just before serving, steam open the mussels, in a pan, with a dash of white wine then add the mussels to the main soup pan. Add the saffron potatoes and pieces of confit fennel. Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes. Fry the reserved pieces of mullet, gurnard and prawns in a hot, non-stick pan with some oil for 3 minutes on each side – start skin-side down with the pieces of fish. Season.

  • STEP 10

    Divide the soup with the fennel, mussels and saffron potatoes between 4 bowls. Put the seared prawns and fillets of fish on top of the soup and scatter over the chopped dill. Serve with the croutons and the rouille on the side.


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