Moroccan Fish Soup

This is an easy recipe that will wow your guests. Almost a simplified version of the French Bouillabaisse, this Moroccan Fish Soup is silky with some smoky cumin notes.
I prepare the soup in advance and sear the fish just before serving. Any type of fish will be ok as long as it holds its shape when cooking.
You can buy roasted red bell peppers also, but the homemade version is so much better. Don’t be overwhelmed, this part can be made in advance too.

Try to use good quality fish stock. I don’t make mine but I buy some fish and shrimp stocks from my local Seafood market. If you have a seafood market near you ask them if they sell their production. If you are buying canned fish stock, try to choose the “low sodium” options since it can be very salty and ruin your recipe.

Serve this hearty soup with seasoned toasts and a little spoonful of Harissa on the side for an extra kick of spiciness.


Moroccan Fish Soup

Recipe credits: Rafaella Sargi
Serves 6

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 big onion, chopped (approx 1 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups fish stock
1 lb (450 g) canned chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 lb (approx. 900 g) fresh white fish fillets, cut into large 3 inch (8 cm) pieces.
Fresh cilantro leaves for serving
Bread toasts sprinkled with salt and cumin for serving
Harissa, for serving
2 red bell peppers, roasted and cut into thin slices
Sea salt

Prep and scale all the ingredients.
You will need one big pot with a lid, a frying pan with a lid, paper towels, and an immersion blender (or a food processor fitted with the blade attachment).

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until soft. Add the tomato paste and mix well to coat the onions, then follow with the chopped garlic, cumin, and 1/2 cup of water to loosen up and dissolve the tomato paste. Add to the pot, the diced tomatoes, fish stock, bay leaves and 2 additional cups of water. Bring to a boil then let it simmer uncovered for 20 minutes over medium heat.
Remove the bay leaves.
Puree the pot content with the immersion blender until smooth. Taste and correct seasoning. Cover and keep hot.

Once the soup is ready, cook the fish.
Using paper towels, pat dry the fish fillets. Set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the fish with a little bit of sea salt and sear the fillets for a few minutes on each side. You are looking for a nice light golden crust. Do not overcrowd the frying pan and work in batches if you need too. Once all the sides of the fish pieces are seared, cover and let it cook over medium-low heat for a few additional minutes. 

Place one large piece of seared fish (or two small) in a bowl and pour hot soup on top. Add a few strips of roasted red bell pepper and fresh cilantro leaves.
Serve immediately with a tiny bit of harissa on the side and grilled toasts seasoned with salt and cumin.


recipe adapted from: The Food of Morocco / A Journey for Food Lovers.