Classic Provencal fish soup


background and origin

Like its most famous representative, the bouillabaisse, the classic Provençal fish soup was originally a “poor man’s meal”. The raw materials are therefore the parts of fish that are not suitable for “respectable serving”.

The production differs from the production of a light fish stock in that more freedom is allowed here. The soup is often refined with tomatoes and saffron, and the proportion of Eau Ricard or Pernod is often higher.

If you don’t want to do without all the good things that are used, then pass the cooked fish soup through the food mill (also known as diligent Lieschen or fleet Lotte). In larger quantities, an electric version is suitable, as the work can be exhausting.

Tip in advance

Since the work is not insignificant and the smell is intense, it is advisable to produce in advance. Once boiled down in the preserving jar, the finished fish soup keeps

    • pasteurized at 95°C and then chilled in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks as a semi-preserve
    • sterilized at 120°C in a pressure pot (pressure cooker) without cooling for 2-3 months as a sterile preserve

Required material

  • Sufficiently sized pot (ingredient weight x 3 = minimum pot capacity in liters)
  • pointed strainer
  • food mill

Ingredients (weight percentages in %)

  • 100%: fish leftovers and carcasses of low-fat game fish (i.e. avoid salmon, mackerel, etc.), optional carcasses of crustaceans (simply collect shrimp shells over time and freeze them in a container, then you always have some stock)
  • 50%: light soup vegetables, 1 part each
    • onion
    • leek
    • fennel
    • celery stalk
    • Garlic Bulb
  • tomato sections
  • tomato paste to taste
  • 20% Chardonnay white wine very dry
  • 10% anise schnapps (e.g. Ricard or Pernod)
  • Olive oil for sweating
  • aromatics:
    • Herb bundle with Provence herbs
      (Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, Sage, Thyme)
    • laurel
    • juniper berry
    • clove
    • peppercorns


  • Soak leftover fish and carcasses in the pot well with cold water for 10 minutes several times until the drained water is clear
  • Meanwhile, cut the vegetables into 1-2 cm pieces
  • Pour off the water and catch the contents in the sieve and let them drain
  • Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat
  • Add the vegetables and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent
  • Add tomato slices, optional tomato paste
  • Fry a little until the liquid from the tomato segments has evaporated
  • Add drained carcasses
  • Deglaze with the white wine
  • Add aniseed schnapps
  • Top up with water until everything is covered with liquid by two fingers
  • Bring to a slow boil while skimming off the foam
  • Turn the heat down to low and add the herbs
  • Simmer gently for another 20 minutes, the carcasses will now fall apart
  • Strain the fish stock through a fine sieve into another saucepan
  • Turn all solid contents through the fine sieve of the food mill
  • add the resulting puree to the fish broth
  • Mix everything well and pour into preserving jars up to 1.5 cm below the lid
  • close jars

Make durable

  • Variant 1: pasteurization
    • Heat the closed jars at 95°C in the oven (even better in a steam cooker) for 60 minutes
    • take out and let cool
  • Option 2: Sterilize
    • Boil the sealed jars in the pressure cooker with enough water for 60 minutes at full pressure and leave to cool in the pot
    • Do not release any steam from the pot, otherwise the glasses will boil over due to the high internal pressure
    • When the pot is lukewarm, it can be opened and the glasses removed


You are free to choose the insert, vegetables without other pieces of fish are also sufficient. The variant with fish cubes, mussels and crustaceans such as shrimp is noble.

  • Cut or turn vegetables
  • Blanch vegetables
  • Cut the fish filling into cubes
  • Boil the fish soup while stirring
  • Season with salt and optional saffron
  • Remove from the heat and add the raw fish pieces with the vegetables
  • Leave to simmer for 3-4 minutes over the lowest heat, otherwise the fish cubes will disintegrate
  • Serve

Here’s a ready-made version of the soup as a seafood stew with scallops.


    • It is usually served with a garlic crouton with aioli or rouille