Portuguese Fish Soup

Back in 2009 we spent a half a year working in an orphanage in Minas Gerais State, Brazil near Sao Paulo as kitchen dogsbodies and part time teachers of music and English.

During that time we both managed to get a good grasp of the language and although the European original is slightly harder to pick up, Portugal is one of our top holiday destinations, having enjoyed brilliant trips to both Lisbon, Oporto and some stunning journeys by train up through the Douro region famous for its port and wine.

This soup was inspired by the clean crisp seafood flavours we experienced there and combines some of my favourite produce from Tarbett’s Fismongers who, from a stall in Leeds Markets have now branched out into two new locations elsewhere in the city.


INGREDIENTS (serves 4 as a starter)

  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, skinned and diced
  • 2 small links of cooking chorizo
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 1 pint good fish stock
  • 1 large waxy potato, diced small
  • 1/lb palourade clams, rinsed and shaken
  • 8 live langoustine
  • 250g coley, diced
  • juice and zest of a small lemon
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper


  1. Once cleaned and shaken in a bowl, discard any clams that refuse to close once tapped. Remove and reserve the langoustine heads. Butterfly the tails by laying them out belly down on a board and cutting straight along the orange shell and tail flesh lengthways but leave the underside intact. Fold outwards and press down to create a butterfly.
  2. Heat the oil gently in a heavy based cazuela measuring about 9.5 inches or a similar shallow pot in which you will serve the finished soup. Sweat the onion and chorizo for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent before adding the garlic and cooking for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the saffron and tomatoes and sit everything round the pan until the moisture in the tomatoes has evaporated and you have a light paste. Add the langoustine heads and potato and roast for a further minute seconds.
  4. Now add the white wine and reduce by half, then add the fish stock and bring to a simmer. Separate the stalks and leaves of the parsley and, tying the stalks with a piece of twine, add them to the pot. Simmer this base gently for 1 hour or until you’re almost ready to serve. fullsizerender-4
  5. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. 8 minutes before you’re ready to serve add your clams and coley to the pot, covering with a lid. 3 minutes later add your langoustine tails and chopped parsley leaves. Add your fish and herbs carefully as once added they should not be disturbed so your placing of them will be their final presentation.
  6. When your guests are seated add your lemon juice and a good drizzle of olive oil.

Serve with garlic rubbed crouton and a bowl for spent shells.



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