This soup always goes down a treat in our house. The base soup can be made in advance and you can just add fish or seafood when you’re ready to eat. I’ve made this with just fish and then also a combo of clams, mussels, squid and fish. Go easy on the salt if you’re adding shellfish and adjust at the end.

This is also delicious adapted without fish. I like to make a quick fennely vegetable scrap stock and add some cannellini beans in place of the fish. I also add 1 tsp of smoked paprika into the base. Yum!

2-3 T olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb, reserve any trim for the stock and finely slice or chop
1 leek or onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
½ tsp fennel seeds
3 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed
1 tin chopped tomatoes
500g potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1cm thick
1.5 L fish stock – see below
A strip of orange zest and half an orange juiced
Salt and pepper
500g white fish – I used Tarakihi this time but any white fish works or a combination of seafood and fish
Smoked paprika mayo to serve
chopped fennel fronds or Italian parsley to serve

Heat oil in a large pot and add all the vegetables, fennel seeds and garlic. Cook without colour until soft. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, orange zest and juice and fish stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetable are tender and the potatoes easily break up, this helps thicken the soup. I also sometimes quite like to remove a cup or 2 of the stew/soup before adding the fish and blend it up to thicken the soup.

Check seasoning. Add fish and cook for about 2 minutes depending on size.

Serve with the smoked paprika aioli on top and some chopped fennel fronds or parsley if you have it.

Smoked paprika mayo 
– this will make more that you need, otherwise half it.

1 cup homemade or quality mayo
1 T olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
Confit garlic or about 2-4 cloves garlic crushed to taste

If you’re making the mayo from scratch just remove a tablespoon of the oil and follow the method below blitzing it in as you make the mayo.

Heat the oil in a small pan, add in the garlic and sizzle for about 10 seconds or so before adding the smoked paprika and letting that sizzle for 10 or so seconds. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before mixing into the mayo. Season it and you’re done! The cooking off of the spices gives a nice round flavour instead of a raw spice taste.

Fish Stock

The easiest of the stocks! Takes 30 minutes all up. Lovely in a seafood risotto too or a chowder. Ask your fish monger for a white fish frame suitable for stock, they will even cut it up for you if you ask. Avoid any oily fish as it will be too strong for this. This stock is light and fresh.

700g white fish frame – rinsed well, any blood removed, chopped it up into 4 or so bits
1 cup chopped onion/ leek 
Trim from fennel bulb
½ cup celery . chopped
1 small carrot chopped
6 peppercorns
Pinch fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs fresh Thyme
Parsley stalks
2 garlic cloves
Splash of white wine or half a lemon
1.5 litres ish of cold water

Heat olive oil in a large pot, add vegetables and herbs and saute until soft (about 10 minutes) add fish bones and cold water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Leave to cool slightly for 5-10 minutes and strain. Keep in fridge for up to 3 days or freeze. How easy right?