Nothing but simple vegetables and common whitefish make up this light yet remarkably brothy Psarosoupa.
Literally translated “fish soup,” psarosoupa is widely revered in Greek households as simple, affordable comfort food. Its ingredient list is nothing but common root vegetables, some aromatics and whatever did not sell from the fisherman’s daily catch. But an equally simple treatment (this version is closest to psarosoupa patmou, a version from the island Patmos) elevates the dish to a world classic.
Preparation begins with making a basic light vegetable broth from a water base (essentially, a court-bouillon). Cutting the leeks very thin allows them to almost melt away, and the long simmer softens the potatoes into a creamy texture. Both of these elements naturally help to thicken the result without adding fat, roux or slurry.
Many variations exist, family to family, kitchen to kitchen. Some recipes include tomatoes, zucchini, beans or rice, or any number of substitutions; the base broth works with any and all. Seasonings are also customizable but the combination of vegetables given here is more than enough for a clean, well-rounded flavor.
Almost any seafood can work with the broth, cooked briefly at the end for a surprisingly full flavor without the bones. Firm-fleshed ocean fish works best such as snapper, mullet, carp, cod or halibut. Avoid oily fish like salmon as the dish includes an addition of fine extra-virgin olive oil.
Some recipes finish the soup with an addition of avgolemono, a thickening sauce of eggs and lemon that can be made into a wonderful soup in its own right. However, fresh lemon juice is enough to brighten the result here and enhance the seafood essence.
Serve with plenty of hardy, crusty bread for soaking up the broth.
1 lb fish (mullet, snapper, cod)
2 ribs celery
½ red onion
2 Yukon gold potatoes
¼ c olive oil
5-6 stalks Italian parsley
1 Thinly slice the leek, and chop the carrots, celery and onion. Peel and dice the potatoes.
2 Add the vegetables to 6 c water along with the parsley stalks, salt and peppercorns. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 min.
3 Drain the stock into a new pot, straining out the cooked vegetables. Discard the peppercorns and parsley.
4 Add the oil to the stock and bring to a low boil. Add the fish and simmer, covered, for 10 min or until the fish is cooked through.
5 Add the cooked vegetables back to the stock along with chopped parsley. Finish with the juice of the lemon.