White Fish Soup with Saffron

By Lee Holmes

Bring on the convenience of a one-pot meal that just simmers on the stove-top, ready to be enjoyed to it’s full potential.

White Fish Soup with Saffron is a beautifully light and flavourful soup that’s injected with dose of precious saffron, a spice so colourful and aromatic that it changes the profile of a meal and acts as a versatile medicine that has been used since ancient times.

The foundation of this dish is fish stock, a nourishing and gut friendly building block rich in essential minerals: iodine, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, silicon and sulphur that will provide your body with an variety of nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids to boost the gut and the brain.

Fish stock also contains gelatin, to help seal the digestive tract and improve the digestion of food through its hydrophilic (liquid attracting) properties.
If you prefer, you can use vegetable stock in this recipe but don’t be afraid of fish stock, really it’s affordable and ever so simple to make. There’s no roasting or long simmer times, all you need is half an hour in the kitchen to get a good result.
To make fish stock, start by washing fish trimmings and bones, and then place them into a waiting stockpot. (Remove the gills as they can make the stock bitter). Some people like to include the heads because of their thyroid boosting properties and you can pop in the skin as well, but it really is personal preference at this point.

Adding some roughly chopped fennel, leeks, and carrots, will enhance the taste and give the stock an extra boost of nutrients. Grab a large handful of parsley throw that in and some water to cover, then bring to the boil and simmer it with the lid on for about half an hour, scraping off any scum that may rise to the surface.

Once the time has elapsed, the stock is then removed from the heat and strained, discarding fish trimmings and the vegetables. Most types of fish can be used for stock, but try to avoid salmon, red mullet and oily fish.

All recipes aim to achieve a balanced and neutralised gut, efficient digestion, maximised nutrient absorption, and therefore improve your general wellbeing.

White Fish Soup with Saffron
Serves 4
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 celery stalks, chopped
• 1 leek, white part only, chopped
• 1 medium fennel bulb, fronds reserved, bulb chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed
• juice of 1/2 lemon
• grated zest of 1 lemon
• 400 g (14 oz) tin additive-free chopped tomatoes
• 1 small red capsicum (pepper), seeded and chopped
• pinch of saffron threads
• 2 thyme sprigs
• 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) fish stock or vegetable stock
• pinch of cayenne pepper
• 400 g (14 oz) boneless white fish fillets, whole or roughly chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
• 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
• pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
• Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
• Add the onion, celery, leek, chopped fennel and garlic, and cook for 3–4 minutes or until soft.
• Add the lemon juice and zest, tomato, capsicum, saffron and thyme, reserving a little of the thyme to use as a garnish. Cook for 2–3 minutes, then add the stock and cayenne pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25–30 minutes. Add the fish and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
• Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then purée in a food processor or blender until smooth. (Alternatively, purée the soup before adding the fish.)
• Add the salt to taste, reheat if necessary, then serve sprinkled with yeast flakes, if using, and black pepper, and garnished with reserved fennel fronds and thyme.