Wednesday 24 October 2012

Soup... for friends.

It is a simple soup, with the fun of the raw fish cooking in front of your eyes...
Japanese in style, but with a Normandy kiss as ever with tiny bâtons of apple.

The recipe is flexible in that you can change the fish and the stock.  You can adapt it to your personal taste.  You will need small bowls so the liquid stays hot (and cooks the fish quickly).  For some high drama, you could put the soup in a teapot so your guests help themselves...

My soup had :
1.2 litre/5 cups of fish stock (vegetable stock would be fine)
250 ml/1 cup fresh apple juice
12 lime leaves (2 batons of lemon grass would be nice too)
a 'thumbs' worth of sliced fresh ginger
juice of 1 lime
3 shallots sliced (1 red onion if not)
 2 or 3 table spoons of Ume Su  - (a salty plum vinegar - choose cider vinegar if not and some soya sauce)
pinch of saffron
pepper to taste (there should be enough salt, but just check)
an apple cut into bâtons or grated (do this at the end so it doesn't oxidise)
a piece of fish, sliced thinly (quantity is as you like) - I used cod, with three slices each

Simply put all the ingredients (less the apple bâtons and the fish!) in a pot to cook for a an hour on a simmer and strain - taste and adapt it until you are happy. 
(note the vinegar and apple juice balance each other and add  interest without being sweet or sour) 

Play with the flavours - it can really be what you want, adding spice or herbs as it's all about having fun!  Just remember to serve the soup boiling and let it stand a minute - one of our guest was scared it couldn't cook in time... it does! 


  1. I SO love this! And it is very doable. We love fish and cod is one of our favourites. But I can already imagine other 'versions' of this. Did you make your fish stock? I remember working in a mainly fish restaurant in Vancouver many years ago and there was always a huge pot of fish stock simmering was their staple/base for a lot of their recipes and they threw EVERYTHING in that pot!!
    I hungry now...thanks!

    1. Hello Jim,
      I am really pleased you 'get' this - I love to inspire the other versions and it can be fun! I did make a fish stock (with the bones gave me) but as the ginger and lime leaves are strong, it doesn't add much to it - so I would just do a veg stock next time. I too, am always making stock but I appreciate people don't have the time to do that always (and yes everything goes in!!). Thanks.

  2. That soup just looks so elegant yet seems easy to make. Presentation is everything and your presentation is just beautiful! :)

    1. Hello Janet,
      Thank you very much (I try!), it is easy and makes the dinner more fun!

  3. This reminds me of a Mediterranean-style soup I learned to make at a culinary workshop once. The chef added clams and mussels directly to the Provençal base, brought it to an aggressive simmer, then covered it until the shellfish open. Then he spooned raw tuna and scallops into serving bowls. When it was time to serve, he added ladles full of the boiling broth into the bowls. I admit this technique made me a little nervous (just like it did your guest), but the result was spectacular! The clams and mussels were steamed open in the soup pot, while the more delicate seafood was cooked ever so gently in the bowls when the hot broth was added.

    I find the flavours in your recipe quite intriguing. I think I've only eaten fish and fruit together in the same dish once (fish tacos with a mango salsa). I may just give this a try. The apples are falling off the trees here right now and one can only eat so much apple crisp (before running out of ice cream).

    Cheers :-)

    1. I've since thought of about 1,000 times I've had fish and fruit together (hello - lemons!) What was I thinking?

    2. Hello Laura,
      Sounds like a wonderful class you attended! I think you have to go along the lines, that if it can be eaten raw, it will be fine lightly cooked. I am sure I am like you, being selective where we get our fish from, not that means always the most expensive but the freshest. Don't be nervous you can cut it thinner the first time, but you will be surprised. As for the apple it was a last minute thing that just worked. As it was only a little and really the apples where sharp, so not a sweet addition at all. The vinegar and the lime in it, sort of needed something to balance them. I do take risks but it OK too, if my guest don't like everything - he actually wanted the recipe after which made us all laugh (a lot!).
      As for the fruit thing yes lemons and limes are wonderful but not sweet, so I get why you are not sure (you must must try grapefruit with fish - segments on top, cold as if you heat them they disintegrate! Add the juice for the base of a hollandaise sauce is really good). I think a little of anything can sometimes work, not always but that's how we all learn. I am always trying to learn more...
      Thank you for your input.
      Best wishes Ivan

    3. I love the idea of grapefruit juice instead of lemon in a hollandaise! Can't wait to give that a try. Thanks Ivan :-)

  4. Amazing! I love the idea of serving something in which one of the elements cooks before your guest's eyes. So magical. And lots of fun!

  5. What a fun dish! I think I'm going to give this a try.


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