Fish soup with capsicum polenta

Good stock provides the flavour base for this delicate broth. When homemade stock is not available, try one of the high–quality commercial stocks rather than a stock cube. The polenta accompaniment is prepared in advance, so the soup is simple to cook at the last minute.

Fish soup with capsicum polenta


  • 1 litre fish stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 bulb of fennel, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • zest of 1 lemon, finely shredded or coarsely grated
  • 1 French shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red chilli, halved and seeded (optional)
  • 500 g skinless white fish fillet, cut into bite–sized chunks
  • salt
  • pepper
  • leaves from the fennel bulb, herb fennel or fresh dill to garnish
  • 2 red capsicums, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⅓ cups (200 g) instant polenta
  • ½ cup (50 g) freshly grated parmesan


  1. Preheat the grill to high.
  2. Grill the capsicums, skin side up, for about 10 minutes or until blistered and blackened.
  3. Put in a plastic bag and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Peel off the skins; cut lengthwise into 5 mm wide strips.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Cook the polenta with the salt according to the instructions on the packet.
  7. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until it is thick.
  8. Sprinkle a plastic chopping board or tray with water and turn the polenta out onto it.
  9. Use a wet palette knife to spread out the polenta into a rectangle about 1 cm thick.
  10. Arrange the strips of capsicum diagonally on top, gently pressing them into the polenta.
  11. Wet a sharp knife, then trim the edges of the polenta rectangle.
  12. Leave to cool.
  13. Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a baking tray.
  14. Sprinkle the parmesan over the polenta rectangle and cut it into 16 sticks.
  15. Transfer the polenta sticks to the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  16. Leave to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  17. For the soup, pour the stock into a saucepan.
  18. Tie the bay leaf, parsley and thyme together into a bouquet garni and add to the pan with the celery, fennel, carrots, lemon zest, shallot, garlic and chilli, if using.
  19. Heat gently until boiling, then simmer for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly tender.
  20. Cover the pan and remove it from the heat.
  21. Leave to stand for 10–20 minutes.
  22. Discard the bouquet garni and chilli halves.
  23. Bring the liquid back to the boil.
  24. Reduce the heat, then poach the fish for 4 minutes or until it is opaque and flakes easily.
  25. Season to taste.
  26. Transfer the polenta sticks to a plate.
  27. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the fennel leaves or dill.
  28. Serve at once.

Serves 4
Preparation: about 30 minutes, plus about 1.5 hours cooling and 10-20 minutes infusing
Cooking: about 40 minutes


Soups & Casseroles

Click here for more cookbooks...

More Recipes

Easy Peasy Chocolate Cake

Easy Peasy Chocolate Cake

Here's a no-fuss, yet impressive, cake for a special occasion. Serve with a generous dollop of cream or a spoonful of good ice-cream.
Double Chocolate Creams

Double Chocolate Creams

A delicious treat, chocolate is a great feel-good food.

Need To Lose Weight? Start With Butter In Your Coffee

Need Help To Lose Weight? Start With Butter In Your Coffee

It may sound strange - and downright disgusting - but wellness experts are singing the praises of this buttery beverage.

Raspberry cranachan

Raspberry cranachan

This traditional Scottish dessert is quick and easy to put together, and the nutritious combination of cream, fromage frais, oats and fresh fruit makes a superb sweet course for a special occasion meal. The whisky not only adds a taste of Scotland, but gives a fantastic kick to the flavour.

Rice pudding with apricots

Rice pudding with apricots

Rich in flavour and wonderfully creamy in texture, this satisfying rice pudding is a modern version of a popular old favourite. It's flavoured with tangy orange zest and sultanas, and paired with a cinnamon–spiced fresh apricot compote.