You may be feeling a little down about the fact that winter is rearing its ugly head but the great news is; it’s finally soup season! There’s no better way to warm up on a cold winter’s day than with a bowl of hearty soup and this recipe for Seafood Soup with Rouille and Croutons is sure to hit the spot this winter. The signature dish of The Plettenberg Hotel, this dish is a delectable combination of fish and fragrant spices, and makes for the perfect starter or main meal when served with freshly baked bread.

Seafood Soup with Rouille and Croutons

Serves 6


For the soup you need:

1 Kg whole fish, such as hake, gurnard etc cut into pieces, (do not use an oily fish like mackerel, trout or salmon)
90 ml olive oil
80 g of each – onion, celery, leek and fennel, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves sliced
Zest of one whole orange
Juice of one whole orange
200 g tinned tomatoes blended
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
A pinch of saffron
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 litres very strong fish stock (see recipe below)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the fish stock recipe you need:
(Makes 2 litres)

1 kg fish bones
1 onion chopped
1 fennel bulb chopped
100g sliced celery
100g sliced carrots
100g chopped leeks
250 g sliced button mushrooms
1 sprig thyme
3 litres water

For the croutons you need:

1 small baguette
Olive oil for frying
1 garlic clove

For the rouille you need:

25 g sliced day-old crustless white bread
A little water
2 Tbl spoon harissa
3 fat peeled garlic cloves
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp salt
250 ml olive oil


To make the stock:

1. Put all the ingredients into a large pan and simmer very gently for 30 minutes.
2. Strain through a muslin-lined fine sieve, and use as required. If not using immediately, leave to cool, then chill and refrigerate or freeze.

To make the soup:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the vegetables and garlic and cook gently for 20 minutes until soft but not coloured.
2. Add the orange zest, tomatoes, red pepper, bay leaf, thyme, saffron, cayene pepper, and the fish pieces.
3. Cook briskly for 2 – 3 minutes, then add the strained stock and orange juice, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes.
4. Liquidise the soup, then pass through a sieve into a clean pot, pressing as much liquid as possible with the back of a ladle.
5. Return the soup to the heat and season to taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

For the croutons:

1. Thinly slice the baguette on the diagonal and fry the slices in the olive oil until crisp and golden.
2. Drain on kitchen paper and rub one side of each piece with the garlic clove.

To make the rouille

1. Cover the slice of bread with the water and leave to soften.
2. Squeeze out the excess liquid and put the bread into a food processor with the harissa, garlic, egg yolk and salt. Blend until smooth.
3. With the machine still running, gradually add the oil until you have a smooth, thick, mayonnaise-like mixture.

Keeps in the fridge for at least a week.


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