Italian Fish Soup with Fresh Herbs, Fennel, Shallots and Garlic

For me, dinner just can’t get any better than fish, Italian herbs, fennel, shallots and garlic.  All gently muddled together in a sea of tomatoes, seafood stock or veggie broth.

Fish soup is grand any time of year.  But I especially love this fish soup when the weather outside is cool and crisp.  Well… cool definitely, but around here it’s not so crisp.  Its more like soggy.  Which is fine. Really.  Isn’t that why Seattle is called the Emerald City? It rains so much it stays beautifully green year round.  There.  A positive spin on our Seattle weather.

A rainy day in the Pacific Northwest

I really do love it here.  It’s the perfect writing weather, recipe testing weather and wrap up in my quilt weather.  It’s even great hiking weather.  They say if you let the rain stop you from exploring and enjoying the outdoors, you’d never get outside.

So after a long hike up the mountain with Ranger Craig and our trusty sidekick, Tank, we love a bowl of fish soup.   Filled with fragrant aromatics of fennel, shallots and garlic and then topped off with the exquisite flavors of fresh herbs, it’s a little warm blanket all rolled up into one delicious Fish soup!

Serves 4


¾ -1 lb white fish (cod or halibut are excellent choices), cut into 1 inch cubes

Extra virgin olive oil

½ cup chopped fennel bulb

¼ cup chopped shallots

5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup white wine

1 15oz can tomato sauce

2 cups fish stock (can substitute with veggie broth)

1 sprig thyme

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or sage

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

6 slices baguette, brushed with olive oil, toasted and rubbed with half a garlic clove


In a large soup pot or Dutch oven heat a little oil on medium heat.  Add the fennel and shallots and sauté until wilted about 5-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté a few minutes more.

Stir in the white wine, and then the tomato sauce.  Add the sprig of thyme and pinch of red pepper.  Stir in the fish stock and bring soup to a lively simmer.

Add the fish and let the soup simmer for about 8-10 minutes, or until the fish is done.  Gently fold in the chopped fresh oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Let the soup sit for about five minutes to let the flavors of the herbs develop.  To serve, place a toasted baguette slice in the bottom of each bowl, ladle soup into each bowl and then garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley.  Enjoy!



  1. carbonara says:

    I was wondering how to give a bit more zest to the cod I was planning tomorrow. Now I have an idea – looks like a good way to add someting without overpoering the fish.

  2. Interesting recipe! I’ve never tried a fish soup before but this one looks yummy.

  3. Karista, I was inspired by your recipe and made my own version as I did not have a fresh bulb of Fennel at home, but I did have fennel pollen and fennel copper. I also used 2 fresh tomatoes and diced them up for the soup. I make this soup at least three times a year as it is one of our favorites. Thank you for your recipe; even though I substituted some things, it was still very delicious!

    • So glad you liked the recipe and thanks for sharing your version! I love it when a recipe can easily use substitutions. Makes life so much easier and less trips to the market. Thanks again Sadie!

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