For the soup
- 3 x whole white fish (such as bream, John Dory or snapper), gutted
- large handful prawns in the shell
- large handful mussels in the shell
- 400g/14oz waxy potatoes, such as Desirée, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
- 1 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley
- drizzle of olive oil
- 30ml/2 tbsp olive oil
- fish trimmings, including head and bones, from fish listed above
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 small bulb fennel, chopped
- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat side of a knife
- 1 large sprig thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 pinches saffron strands
- 1-2 star anise
- 2 litres/3½ pints boiling water
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Fillet the fish, set aside the trimmings and remove any small bones from the fillets with tweezers. Set the fillets aside to be added to the soup later.
- To make the stock, roughly chop the fish trimmings into three parts. Heat a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, and add the olive oil.
- Add the fish trimmings and fry for 5-10 minutes until they begin to brown. Remove the fish trimmings from the pan and set aside on a plate.
- Add the shallot, fennel, tomatoes, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, saffron and star anise. Fry gently over a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until the vegetables have softened.
- Add the cooked fish trimmings back into the pan, and pour in the boiling water. Bring back to a simmer and remove any scum that forms on the surface with a ladle or spoon. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 35 minutes.
- Place a sieve in a colander placed over a large saucepan. Ladle the stock into the sieve, then gently pour in any remaining liquid from the pan - taking care not to tip the fish or vegetables into the sieve. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- For the soup, place the potatoes into the fish stock. Bring to the boil and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the potatoes are nearly cooked.
- Cut the fish fillets into 5cm/2in pieces. Discard any mussels that are open or that don't close when tapped, or have broken shells.
- Add the prawns, mussels and white fish to the saucepan and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that have not opened during cooking. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- To serve, ladle the fish soup into soup bowls, scatter with parsley, drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.
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