Fisherman’s Soup with Aioli Toast

I came across this Mitch Tonks recipe on the excellent BBC ‘Get Cooking‘ website. If this dish is anything to go by, fishermen eat exceedingly well.

Fisherman's Soup with Aioli Toast

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Skill level: easy
Serves: 2 mains


For the aioli

  • 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • dijon mustard – ½ tsp
  • 1 free-range egg (yolk only) – at room temperature
  • vegetable oil – 35ml
  • olive oil – 35ml
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • sea salt

For the soup

  • fresh white fish (cleaned, decapitated and cut into large chunks) and seafood (250-300g). We had a medium red mullet, a medium whiting, 4 uncooked tiger prawns, 4 squid (cut into rings) and half a kilo of palourde clams. You can use whatever you fancy although avoid oily fish such as mackerel and salmon.
  • 1 or 2 shallots – finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic – crushed
  • 2 ripe tomatoes – roughly chopped
  • olive oil – 1-2 tbsp
  • fresh thyme – 2 sprigs
  • saffron – pinch
  • Pastis – 2 tbsp
  • dry white wine – 2 tbsp
  • s & p

To serve

  • parsley – chopped
  • slices of grilled bread

First the aioli. Place the crushed garlic, mustard and egg yolk in a bowl and whisk together.

Continue whisking and add some of the vegetable oil in a slow steady stream. Continue steadily adding the oil alternating between the vegetable and olive oil, until a thick emulsion is formed.

Season to taste with sea salt and then add the lemon juice.

Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least an hour so the flavours can mingle. The aioli will keep in this state for up to 3 days.

Fisherman's Soup with Aioli Toast

For the soup, heat the oil in a large pan and over a low heat gently sweat the shallots and garlic for 5 minutes or until translucent.

Add the thyme, saffron and Pastis, stir and simmer for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol.

Add the wine and simmer for a few more minutes.

Add the white fish (cut into large chunks), squid (cut into rings) and prawns.

Pour in just enough water to cover the fish. Put on the lid and simmer gently for 7-8 minutes.

Add the clams (or whichever shellfish you are using), cover and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes until the the shells have opened. (Discard any that fail to open)

Season to taste.

Fisherman's Soup with Aioli Toast

To serve, place the toasted bread in the bottom of each serving dish, spoon on a generous amount of aoili and ladel over some of the liquid from the soup.

Place the saucepan containing the fish and shellfish, along with the remaining aoili and extra slices of toasted bread on the table for everyone to help themselves. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Verdict: Flippin’ ‘eck Tucker, this is good. A fishy, garlicy, luxurious treat which is pretty easy to make. Those fishermen certainly eat well. I urge you to give this one a go.

Drink: A ‘costs more than a fiver but not yet into double figures‘ bottle of 2007 Petit Chablis.

Entertainment: ‘Belleville Rendez-vous’ on DVD. A crazy French animation about a man training for the Tour de France with the help of his grandmother and a fat dog. Well worth a viewing.


  1. This is making me hungry….

  2. Thanks for the comment a couple of weeks ago, it got my arse into gear and I’ve finally posted again. Still have a million and one plans to organise, but cooking more like a fiend thanks to the credit crunch. Nice of you to send me a comment. 🙂

  3. Hi Mer

    It’s a pleasure, welcome back to the collective.


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