Zuppa di Pesce con Faggioli

I have tasted this Italian-style fish soup with beans at my sister’s. If you follow the proper procedure, making it can take up to 1.5 hours, but you prepare the fish stock in advance (and freeze it for later use), the whole process can go much faster.


Ingredients for the fish stock:

A head and a spine of a large white-fleshed fish (in my case I’ve used a meagre)
1 branch of celery
Parsley and silantro
1 branch of basil
1 (!!) whole allspice berry
3 berries of white pepper
2 liter water

Preparation (of the fish stock):

  1. Take the fish head and cut out the gills. Then cut the head into two halves.
  2. Peel the leaves from the basil branch – we will use the twigs for the stock and the leaves in the eventual soup.
  3. Put all the fish parts, the herbs and the spices in the pan and fill with water.
  4. Bring to boiling and then reduce to minimal heat and cook for approximately 1 hour.
  5. Remove from the heat and filter the broth using a cheesecloth.
  6. Throw away the fish spine and all the herbs, remove all edible flesh parts from the fish head.

Ingredients for the main soup:

Leaves (previously removed from the twigs) of basil branch
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cans of ground canned tomatoes (very important to distinguish between these and tomato puree)
2 medium-sized carrots
1 branch of celery
1 large branch/stalk of leek
5 garlic cloves
400 gr. of beans (frozen or pre-cooked)
100 gr. “white” fish fillet
Salt, pepper

Preparation of the main soup:

  1. Peel/clean the carrots and the leek and cut into medium-width rings. Cut the celery as well.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves, press them using wide knife blade and chop them finely.
  3. Take a pan with a thick bottom and heat the oil.
  4. Start frying the garlic. As soon as a typical fried garlic smell rises, add the carrots, leek and celery and continue frying on low heat while stirring for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and the fish stock and bring to boiling.
  6. Reduce the heat and cook the vegetables until ready for 20 more minutes.
  7. Using a hand blender turn the soup into a coarse puree, leaving small pieces of cooked vegetables.
  8. Cut the fish into small pieces and add to the soup. Add  the beans, increase the heat and bring to boiling again.
  9. Tear (manually) the basil leaves and add them to the soup. Add the parts of the fish cooked with the stock.
  10. Add salt and pepper.

Bon Appetit!

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