Provencal style Fish Soup with Aioli, Gruyere and Croutons


A classic soup enjoyed in southern France and now you can enjoy it too. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients, the preparation is straightforward and the flavour intense! If you don’t fancy preparing the fish yourself, just ask your fishmonger to prepare this for you. The soup also freezes well for up to a month.

Provencal style Fish Soup with Aioli, Gruyere and Croutons
Serves 6
  1. 75g Each of Carrot, onion, leek and fennel, peeled and finely diced
  2. 75ml Olive oil
  3. 6 Garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  4. 300ml Vermouth, plus 25ml extra for finishing the soup
  5. 150ml Red wine
  6. 100ml Port
  7. 25ml Brandy
  8. 225g Tinned plum tomatoes
  9. 150g Tomato puree
  10. 1 Strip Orange rind
  11. 9 Basil leaves
  12. 1 tsp Fennel seeds
  13. 2 Star anise
  14. Handful each of fresh tarragon, thyme & parsley
  15. 2 Bay leaves
  16. 1.5 Ltrs Water
  17. 1 tbsp Dried Herbes de Provence
  18. Pinch of saffron
  19. Cayenne pepper
  20. 1kg Mixed fish, such as red mullet, sea bass and langoustines
  1. 2 Garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  2. 3 Free-range egg yolks
  3. 1 tsp Fine salt
  4. 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  5. 1 tbsp White wine vinegar
  6. 150ml Olive oil
  7. 150ml Vegetable oil
  8. Toasted baguette slices, to serve
  9. Gruyere cheese, grated, to serve
  1. To prepare the fish, take the red mullet and sea bass, remove any scales and gut’s from the fish, you could get your fishmonger to do this for you. Remove the fillets from the fish and take out any bones using tweezers. Wrap the fillets in cling film and reserve in the fridge. Chop the bones and reserve along with the heads. Again, this step can be done by your fishmonger.
  2. Place a large stock-pot pan on a medium-high heat and add the 75ml Olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the carrots, leeks, onion and fennel. Sautee until the vegetables are soft and slightly caramelised. Add in the 300ml of Vermouth and scrape the base of the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour in the red wine, port and brandy and reduce by half to burn off the alcohol. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, orange rind, 3 of the basil leaves, fennel seeds, star anise, tarragon, thyme, parsley, bay leaves and herbes de provence. Sautee for 2-3 minutes more to release the aroma’s.
  3. Add the fish bones and heads to the pan along with the langoustines and stir. Pour over the water and simmer the soup gently for an hour, uncovered.
  4. Pour in the 25ml of Vermouth and remaining basil leaves along with the chopped garlic. Cook for a further 20 minutes and add the saffron right near the end.
  5. Transfer the soup to a blender, removing the fish heads, large bones and star anise, reserving the langoustines. Liquidize the soup in batches and pass through a sieve into a clean pan. Season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper to add a little heat. Keep warm.
  6. For the Aioli, on a chopping board, add the salt to the sliced garlic and mash the cloves to a paste using the back of a knife. Place the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk together with the garlic paste, mustard and vinegar. Combine the two oils in a jug and pour in a steady stream a little at a time onto the eggs, whisking all the time to create a thick emulsion. Cover the bowl with cling film and reserve in the fridge.
  7. Place a non-stick frying pan over a high heat and add a film of olive oil. Slice the fish fillets into 3 pieces and add to the pan skin-side down. Fry for around 2 minutes, or until the skin is crispy, flip the fish over and fry the flesh side until the fillet is white but not flaking. Remove the fillets from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  8. To plate, place a piece of sea bass in the centre of each bowl. Top the fillet with a piece of red mullet. Place a langoustine on the top of the red mullet and pour the soup around the fish. Sprinkle the baguette slices with the gruyere and add a spoon of Aioli. Serve and enjoy.
Artisan Traveller


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