Holiday Fish Soup

Take a page out of European tradition and delight your friends with this fresh seafood soup

Credit: Flickr / arsheffield

For a taste of European tradition, try this charming Christmas fish soup

The fish selection will vary depending on location, but here on the West Coast, the natural inclusions would be halibut, prawns and cod.

Whatever your choice, ensure your seafood is fresh and serve this soup with lots of warm rustic bread.

It’s a true yuletide treat, especially when it’s cold outside.


  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, sliced
  • 3 chopped large garlic cloves
  • 1 medium fennel, sliced thin
  • 1 large leek, sliced, white part only
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 big sprigs fresh thyme
  • Strip of fresh orange peel (1 by 2 inches)
  • 2 tsp. saffron threads, pounded into a powder
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 cups Clamato juice (I like the spicy version)
  • 1 (540 g) tin Roma tomatoes
  • 2 pounds fresh halibut, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound prawns (16/20 size), shells removed
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Piri piri sauce to finish (optional)


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, fennel and leek. Sauté until they are soft but not brown.
  3. Add the parsley, bay leaves, thyme, orange peel and saffron.
  4. Pour in the wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the Clamato juice and canned tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. If desired, the soup can be prepared up to 3 days ahead at this point and refrigerated.
  7. Before serving, reheat the soup then add the prawns and halibut (or other fish of your choice).
  8. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the fish is cooked. Season to taste with pepper.
  9. Ladle the soup into bowls, pass the piri piri sauce and plenty of warm fresh bread.

Serves six.

Listen to Caren McSherry Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. on CKNW 98.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.