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Mediterranean Fish Soup

  • Yield: 3 quarts, about 6 main-course servings


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium ribs celery, cut thinly on the diagonal
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 pinches saffron threads
  • 8 cups fish or shrimp stock, or a combination of both
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 (3-inch) strips orange zest
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch slices (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup peeled, seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning fish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm white fish fillets, such as halibut, snapper, grouper, or cod
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Garlic-Rubbed Croutons, for serving


  • In a 6 quart saucepan or soup pot, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the white wine, tomato paste, saffron, stock, crushed red pepper, orange juice, and orange zest and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered, for about 45 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by about one-third.
  • Add the fennel and tomatoes and cook until the fennel is tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  • Season the fish fillets with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cut the fillets into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Add the fish, shrimp, and parsley to the broth and allow to cook, gently stirring only once or twice, until the fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls with garlic-rubbed croutons.