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This stuff is fantastic, a combination of 2 or 3 French and Spanish recipes that more than fed two hungry birthday boys and their friends and loved ones a few years ago. The Pernod is very important! It makes a great one-pan dish if you are feeding lots of people. It actually serves 8, but the button below only goes up to 6!

  • Total time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6


  • 75ml of olive oil
    2 medium onions, roughly chopped
    Whites of two leeks, roughly chopped
    4 celery sticks, thinly sliced
    1 Fennel bulb, finely sliced
    10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    2 x 2" pieces of orange peel, finely chopped
    1kg fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped
    Half a small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
    1 level tsp of saffron
    2 sprigs thyme
    4 bay leaves
    3.5 litres water
    3kg firm white fish mixture
    1 tsp oregano
    2 tbsp Pernod or Ricard (not optional)
    750g shellfish (mussels, lobster, prawns etc- preferably raw)
    25ml extra virgin olive oil (optional)
    Cayenne pepper
    3 tablespoons chopped curly parsley
    Salt and pepper


  1. Heat some olive oil (not the extra virgin) in a wok or largest pan you can find. Add onions, leeks, celery, fennel and garlic. Cook until soft
  2. Season, add orange peel, tomatoes, chilli, saffron, thyme and water. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes
  3. Add the fish, then mussels and remaining herbs. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add remaining shellfish, simmer for a further minute
  4. Strain all the soup into another pan leaving fish and shellfish in the big pot or wok to keep warm. Add extra virgin olive oil and Pernod to soup and boil rapidly to reduce by a third
  5. Check seasoning, adding cayenne. Add soup to fish, mix well and scatter with chopped curly parsley. Serve with bread and butter, and finger bowls with loads of serviettes, and a debris bowl for empty shells

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