Simple seafood broth

    50 min

    Delicate seafood is complemented by saffron, tomatoes and courgettes in a clear and light, but well-flavoured, broth. The accompaniment, a piquant spread of creamy ricotta cheese and red pepper for French bread, is far lighter than classic rouille, the spicy mayonnaise traditionally served with seafood soups.

    16 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 litre (1¾ pints) fish stock, preferably home-made
    • ¼ tsp saffron threads
    • 400 g (14 oz) mussels in shells, scrubbed
    • 85 g (3 oz) peeled raw king prawns
    • 85 g (3 oz) shelled scallops
    • 85 g (3 oz) plaice fillet, skinned
    • 2 tomatoes, skinned and diced
    • 1 courgette, finely diced
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives to garnish
    • Pepper spread
    • 1 small red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
    • 150 g (5½ oz) ricotta cheese
    • pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
    • 1 small celery stick, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives

    Prep:40min  ›  Cook:10min  ›  Ready in:50min 

    1. First prepare the pepper spread. Stir the red pepper into the ricotta together with the cayenne pepper, celery, chives and salt to taste. Cover and chill until required.
    2. Heat the fish stock in a large saucepan until boiling. Crumble the saffron into the stock and stir well, then remove from the heat and set aside.
    3. To prepare the mussels, discard any broken shells or shells that do not close when tapped. Put the wet mussels into a clean saucepan and cover tightly. (There is no need to add water.) Cook over a moderate heat for 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Check that the mussels have opened – if not, cover and cook for a further 1–2 minutes.
    4. Set a colander over the saucepan of stock and tip the mussels into it so that the juices from the shells are added to the stock. Leave the mussels until they are cool enough to handle, then remove them from their shells and set aside. Discard any unopened shells.
    5. Use a small sharp knife to make a shallow slit along the back of each prawn. Use the tip of the knife to remove the black vein and discard it. Cut each scallop across into 2–3 thin slices, depending on size. Cut the plaice fillet into strips about 2 cm ( 3/4 in) wide and 5 cm (2 in) long.
    6. Reheat the fish stock until simmering. Add the mussels, prawns, scallops and strips of plaice. Stir, then heat until simmering gently again. Add the diced tomatoes and courgette with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the soup for 3 minutes.
    7. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and scatter chives over to garnish. Serve at once, with the pepper spread and lots of warm French bread.

    Alternatives to plaice:

    Try this recipe with megrim. It's another flat fish from the turbot family.

    Some more ideas

    Use 100 g (3½ oz) cubed skinless salmon fillet instead of the mussels and sliced oyster mushrooms instead of the plaice fillet. * For a poultry and pasta broth, use 300 g (10½ oz) skinless boneless chicken or turkey breasts (fillets), cut into fine strips, instead of the fish and seafood, and chicken stock instead of the fish stock. Heat the stock and saffron until boiling, then add 4 tbsp orzo pasta and the chicken or turkey. Simmer gently for 5–7 minutes or until the pasta is tender and the chicken or turkey is cooked and white in colour. Add the diced vegetables, bring back to the boil and serve. * The red pepper spread makes an excellent dip for fresh raw vegetables such as celery, radishes, fennel or cucumber.

    Plus points

    Ricotta cheese is a useful source of calcium and protein, and it is considerably lower in fat than many other cheeses. * The red pepper spread served with this broth is much lower in fat and richer in vitamin C and beta-carotene than the spicy mayonnaise rouille.

    Each serving provides

    C * B1, B2, B6, B12, calcium, copper, selenium * folate

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