Photo: © Mark Roper Photo by: Photo: © Mark Roper

Provençal Fish Soup

At Terrôir restaurant at the Craggy Range winery, chef Sara Simpson flavors her lush seafood soup with port, red wine and the usual dash of licorice-scented Pernod.

Food & Wine MAY 2009

  • Yield: 4


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 4 3-inch strips of orange zest
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
  • 2 8-ounce bottles clam juice
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup ruby port
  • 1 3/4 pounds skinless grouper or red snapper fillets, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp in the shell
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod
  • Salt and coarsely ground pepper


In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook over moderately high heat until softened, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, orange zest, thyme sprigs, fennel and coriander seeds and saffron and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook over high heat until glossy, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, clam juice, wine and port and bring to a boil. Add the grouper and shrimp, cover partially and simmer for 45 minutes. Discard the zest and thyme sprigs.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Rinse out the pot. Set a food mill fitted with a coarse blade over the pot and run the soup through the food mill. Bring the soup to a simmer. Stir in the Pernod and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.


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Provençal Fish Soup recipe