An Ugly Fish Soup

An Ugly Fish Soup

The original recipe calls for sturgeon, a fish I cannot find where I live. At first monkfish was the substitute of choice because of its robust texture but then I saw a conger eel that looked perfect.

Nature has been kind enough to give ugly fishes fantastic flavor. Lamprey, monkish, scorpion fish and conger eel are delicious and among my favorite. Sturgeon must follow this rule for sure. So while at the fishmonger, aim for the grotesque.

  • Four pieces of ugly fish
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 10 allspice peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • a generous bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Chilli powder
  1. Bring 3 liters of to a rolling boil and add onions, allspice, bay leaves, parsley and salt. Boil for 30 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste, chilli and fish and cook for another 30 minutes.
  3. Whisk egg yolk and flour. Add 1/4 cup of cooking broth. Remove pot from heat and egg and flour mixture, stirring until the soup thickens and serve.
Salted cod with chickpeas

Salted Cod with Chickpeas

I know salted cod is an acquired taste, but it’s well worth the effort of learning to love it. When, as a kid, I was asked what foods I didn’t like I would answer “everything but salted cod”. Not anymore.

If you cannot find good salted cod, do it yourself.

  • 500g chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • A small onion, chopped
  • 500g  salted cod, soaked overnight
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • Bay leaf
  • Olive oil
  1. Gently sauté the onions with some olive oil.
  2. Add drained chickpeas and gently boil until tender. Do not use much water and add a bit more if necessary. You can either make a soup or a stew, depending on the amount of water you use. I like it on the soup side because salted cod skin has so much gelatin you’ll end up with a silky broth to die for.
  3. Add paprika and a good splash of olive oil.
  4. Add cod, cover the pot and turn off the heat.
  5. Serve.

I’ve just had three serving of this soupy stew today for lunch. My wife, two. I was going to freeze some, but I guess I will have to start over…