“The Catalan bullinada is like the bourride of the French Riviera and the gazpachuelo of Malaga – a fish soup with garlic mayonnaise stirred in,” says Claudia Roden. “It has a mysterious delicate flavour and beautiful warm colour.”

The veteran food writer suggests using fish such as hake, monkfish or cod cheeks, and adding squid or prawns if you like: “You can make much of it in advance and finish the soup a few minutes before you are ready to eat.”

Catalan fish soup
Catalan fish soup (Susan Bell/PA)
Catalan fish soup
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Catalan fish soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 501 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 16g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 47mg16%
Sodium 249mg11%
Potassium 1177mg34%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 303IU6%
Vitamin C 34mg41%
Calcium 50mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Catalan fish soup

A creamy fish soup flavoured with white wine and garlic
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 6
Calories: 501kcal
Author: Claudia Roden


  • Saucepan
  • Jug


  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves 6 finely chopped and 2 crushed
  • good pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 litres fish stock (use 3 fish stockpots)
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 800 g new potatoes peeled and cut into 1.5cm slices
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • strips of peel from ½ orange
  • 800 g skinless fish fillets, such as hake or monkfish
  • 200 ml good-quality bought mayonnaise
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • good pinch of chilli pepper plus extra to serve
  • 4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and black pepper


  • In a wide pan, fry the onion in the oil over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the chopped garlic and stir for 2 minutes until it just begins to colour.
  • Stir in the saffron and pour in the fish stock and the wine, then put in the potatoes, fennel seeds and orange peel and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, for 20–25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  • Ten minutes before you are ready to serve, remove the orange peel and put in the fish. Cook, covered, over low heat for 4–10 minutes, depending on the fish and the thickness of the fillets, until the fish becomes opaque and the flesh begins to flake when you cut into it with a pointed knife. Break the fillets into pieces.
  • In a jug, beat the mayonnaise with the lemon juice, the crushed garlic and a pinch of chilli.
  • Just before serving, add a ladleful or two of the hot stock into the mayonnaise mixture and beat it in, then gently stir into the simmering soup. Heat through but do not let it boil or the mayonnaise will curdle. Serve sprinkled with parsley and pass round some chilli for anyone who would like to add more.


Calories: 501kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 249mg | Potassium: 1177mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 303IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg

Med by Claudia Roden, photography by Susan Bell, is published by Ebury Press.

Med: A Cookbook
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Roden, Claudia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2021-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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