So, here’s the first question I had when I was trying to name this recipe… is it cioppino? Is it bouillabaisse? Or is both?
Well, it turns out it’s neither. It’s actually more like a fish chowder because the shrimp is deshelled and I didn’t add mussles or clams (too complicated and creepy). So let me do a quick breakdown of what the difference is between the three, just in case you ever need to sound like an expert on brothy fish.
- Cioppino is Italian inspired fish soup with a true tomato base. The fish and seafood contents can vary based on what’s available.
- Bouillabaisse is a French-inspired soup with a fish broth that happens to have chunks of tomato in it. It also has saffron as a signature ingredient.
- Plain old fish soup is a really chunky soup with a tomato base and lots of fish and veggies.
Personally, that last one sounded the best (and let’s be honest, it’s the easiest to make and eat by a long shot), so that’s what we’re going with.
A Few Pointers on Making Fish Soup
When it comes to fish, anything goes.
If you're new to making a fish soup (or cioppino, or bouillabaisse), the good news is that anything goes in terms of the seafood you chose to go with. My husband can't stand anything that comes in a shell (except for shrimp), so I steer clear of mussels and clams. Also, the idea of boiling anything that's alive just gives me the total jeebs, so I am happy to leave them out
Tomato Base or Not, It's Up To You
I used a can of tomatoes and half a bottle of spaghetti sauce because that's what I had on hand and I like the chunky texture of the sauce in my soup. It adds more interest and a lot more flavor. If you decide just to use canned tomatoes and skip the sauce, you'll probably want to add more Italian spices like basil and oregano.
Adding Garlic Bread is Awesome (If you're not watching carbs)
Ah, I used to love garlic bread. When I was young and poor, that's was my go-to order at restaurants as an entree. If you're looking for an alternative to regular French-style bread to serve with the soup, you could experiment with some keto bread (something I've yet to try). It's never going to be as good as the real deal, but it's worth the adventure!
Have you tried these soup recipes yet?
- Creamy Tomato + Tofu Soup Recipe (vegan)
- Roasted Red Pepper, Carrot + Ginger Soup Recipe
- Artichoke Cauliflower + Artichoke Sou Recipe - Paleo + Gluten Free
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- .5lbs potatoes, chopped
- 14 ounce can tomatoes
- 1/2 bottle of your favorite pasta sauce, approximately 14 ounces
- 4 cups chicken or veggie broth
- 1 lb white fish, cod or tilapia work well
- 6 medium shrimp, raw frozen & deshelled
- Sea Salt to taste
- Tsp dried thyme
- Cilantro for garnish
- Add the garlic, onions and olive oil to a large pot and stir until onions start to caramelize.
- Next add the celery, carrots and potatoes, thyme and stir for 5 minutes.
- Add soup stock, canned tomatoes and pasta sauce. Keep stirring.
- Cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are almost tender. Add the fish and shrimp. Note - if you’re using pre-cooked shrimp, defrost them first and add them at the last minute until they are fully heated.
- Cook for 5 to 7 minutes longer or until fish looks cooked.
- Remove from heat, portion in 4 bowls and garnish with cilantro.