One very awkward englishman, boldly goes…

Englishman attempts Marseille fish soup

So, after finally having a day off with decent weather (no wind!) I decided to take a little fishing trip out on my kayak to fish for the classic rock fish, which frequent the coastline of Marseille and form the basis of the famous Marseille soupe de poisson.

I managed to get a rough idea of the recipe from several friends and members of my girlfriends family to give it a shot, so having gathered the other ingredients together I went about giving it my first attempt.

Firstly, I sweated 3 cloves of roughly shopped garlic and 2 chopped onions with some olive oil for around 20 mins. I also added a small amount of chopped ginger because I love it, but I couldn’t taste it in the final soup so I won’t bother again!

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Next I added 5 roughly chopped tomatoes with the seeds removed, roughly chopped red pepper, bouquet garni and sweated some more, before I seasoned with salt and pepper and added 1.5 litres of water. This is supposed to be sea water, but I’m not sure that is very hygienic when you see half of what seems to floating around in there at present!

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I simmered this on a low heat for another 25 mins.

I had managed to fish a variety of species that are perfect for the soup. The only species I was unable to catch which would have been perfect is the infamous Rascasse, but they are very difficult to catch.

From left to right… Sarran, Sarran royal, Sar, Pataclet, Girelle royal, Girelle, crénilabre & Roucaou.

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I added the fish whole to the soup, except for the slightly larger once which I emptied and added. I then cooked this on a low heat for 25 mins, stirring occasionally until the fish had broken down in the stew. I then added Saffron and seasoned again.

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I then filtered into a bowl, making sure to press down hard on the fish and veg solids to extract all the juice.

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We tried the soup last night with Rouille covered croutons floating in the top. It was pretty good, but I might have to do a bit more research for next time, in order to get a stronger flavour from the soup. It feels like I’m missing something…

Here are a few photos taken from out on the fishing trip. The islands I was fishing close to are the two just off the tip of Endoume. One is called Degaby (with the small castle on top) and the other is just the isle of Endoume.

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3 responses

  1. rather envious that you can take a canoe out and fish for your dinner, something i wouldn’t dare try here in brooklyn. a suggestion for the soup, 2 ingredients: celery and olive oil. sweat the celery along with the onions. stir in a few dollops of oil (you should have your pick of great ones there) before service. i think those two things would take the soup to that delicious level you were anticipating. i’ve also seen a little cognac used in this dish.

    May 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm

  2. and/or of course some fennel bulb/fennel seed/pastis. couldn’t hurt.

    May 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

  3. Great suggestions Jeremy. Many thanks. Will definitly try that next time.

    All the best,

    T

    May 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm

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