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Mediterranean Fish Soup with Rouille

Chef Laurent Gras Recipes

Mediterranean Fish Soup with Rouille

Alta Editions

The simultaneous lightness and richness of the fish soup is enhanced by the complex flavor combination of saffron, chili, orange, and garlic contributed by the rouille.
— Laurent Gras

This Provence-inspired Mediterranean Fish Soup with Rouille recipe is a preview from chef Laurent Gras's multiple IACP award-winning cookbook, My Provence.

4 servings   |   Prep Time: 20 minutes   |   Cooking Time: 75 minutes



For the Fish Soup

    • 1 orange
    • ½ cup (100 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
    • 5 cloves (30 g) garlic, minced
    • 1 medium (150 g) white onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 medium (100 g) leek, white part only, thinly sliced
    • ½ small bulb (100 g) fennel, thinly sliced
    • Sea salt
    • 1 ¼ pounds (600 g) ripe tomato, diced
    • Pinch red chili flakes
    • Pinch saffron threads
    • 20 fennel seeds
    • ⅔ cup (150 ml) pastis
    • 2 ¼ pounds (1 kg) whole red snapper, cleaned and scaled, with head reserved (gills removed), cut crosswise into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
    • 2 quarts (2 l) water

For the Rouille

    • 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick slice baguette
    • 1 ladle fish soup (from above)
    • 5 cloves (30 g) garlic, thinly sliced
    • 2 egg yolks
    • Small pinch saffron threads
    • Sea salt
    • Cayenne pepper
    • 1 cup (250 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
    • 4 to 8 ½-inch (1 cm) thick slices baguette, depending on their size


For the Fish Soup

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, make two wide strips of orange zest. Place the zest in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, drain, and set aside. In a stockpot, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic, onion, leek, and fennel, and season with sea salt. Cook for 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the tomato and let simmer slowly for 20 minutes, until it develops the consistency of marmalade. Add the chili flakes, saffron, fennel seeds, pastis, and orange zest. Add the fish and cover with 2 quarts (2 l) of water. Turn the heat up to high and bring to boil. Skim the surface of the soup of any impurities that rise to the top. Lower the heat and simmer for another 30 minutes. Using a hand-held immersion blender or standing blender, purée the soup. Pass through a fine mesh sieve directly into a clean saucepan. Bring back to a simmer, while skimming. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, chili, or even some pastis, if necessary.

For the Rouille

  1. Place the 1-inch (2.5 cm) slice of baguette into a small bowl. Pour a ladle of the fish soup over top, and let it soak until soft. Place the garlic into a mortar and pound to a paste with the pestle. Add the egg yolks, soaked bread, and saffron and continue pounding to create a smooth paste. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Slowly beat in the olive oil in a thin stream until the rouille is thick and creamy, with the consistency of mayonnaise. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, a food processor is the best alternative. Follow the same procedure, pulsing the mixture to achieve the right consistency. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the ½-inch (1 cm) thick slices of bread on a baking rack. Toast on both sides.

To Assemble the Dish

Place a crouton or two in the center of the soup plates. Spoon the rouille over each crouton. Ladle the hot soup into the bowls.

Get this recipe and over 40 other delicious Provence-inspired dishes in Laurent Gras: My Provence, the award-winning online cookbook from renowned chef Laurent Gras, for $9.99.
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