Seafood Soup with Rouille
French fish soup redolent of orange and saffron with a delicious rouille inspired by the magical city of Marseille.
3 red mullets, scaled and gutted
12 large prawns
675 gr white fish, such as cod, haddock, halibut or monkfish
225 gr fresh mussels
1 onion, quartered
5 ml (1 tsp) saffron strands
75 ml (5 tbsp) olive oil
1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, pureed
3 strips pared orange rind
4 thyme sprigs
675 gr tomatoes or 400 gr can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
3 bay leaves
salt and ground black pepper
For the rouille
1 red pepper, seeded and
1 red chili, seeded and sliced
2 garlic cloves pureed
75 ml olive oil
15 gr fresh breadcrumbs
Fillet the mullets by cutting away the flesh from either side of the backbone, reserving the heads and bones. Cut the fillets into small chunks.
Shell half the prawns and reserve the trimmings to make the stock.
Skin the white fish, discarding any bones, and cut into large chunks.
Scrub the mussels well, discarding any damaged ones or any open ones that do not close when tapped sharply with the back of a knife.
To make the rouille, process the pepper, chili, garlic, oil and breadcrumbs in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and chill.
Put the fish trimmings and prawn trimmings in a saucepan with the onion and 5 cups water. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and strain.
Soak the saffron in 1 tbsp boiling water. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large sauté pan or saucepan. Add the mullet and white fish and fry over a high heat for 1 minute. Drain.
Heat the remaining oil and fry the fennel, garlic, orange rind and thyme until beginning to change color. Make up the strained stock to about 1.2 lt with water.
If using fresh tomatoes, plunge them into boiling water for 30 seconds, then refresh in cold water. Peel and chop.
Add the stock to the pan with the saffron, tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves.
Season, bring almost to the boil, then simmer gently, covered, for 20 minutes.
Stir in the mullet, white fish and prawns and add the mussels.
Cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Discard any mussels that do not open. Serve the soup hot with the rouille on the side.