Icelandic Fish Soup


Picture this: hail the size of dimes, gale-force winds, roads closed, and a cozy black cabin along the shores of stark western Iceland. What better to do than make a traditional fish soup? As Mimi Thorisson (the inspiration for this recipe) says of Iceland, "You can find fish soup almost everywhere - it embodies the nation's tradition where fish is very much part of daily life. Everybody has their own version, consisting of vegetables melted in butter, covered in stock and white wine, throwing in the fish last-minute. And lots of cream for those who like it."

It seems a recipe is just as enjoyable as the circumstances surrounding it. 


3 - 4 tablespoons butter

2 small onions - finely sliced

1/2 leek - finely sliced

3 tomatoes - chopped

2 small stalks celery, finely sliced

6 cups of vegetable stock

3/4 cup cream (the recipe called for this, but I forgot it and wasn't about to go back out in the snow storm to get it. It was great without!)

1/2 cup sherry or port or Noilly Prat

3 tablespoons tomato concentrate

1/2 teaspoon saffron powder or cumin (optional)

3-4 tablespoons wine vinegar

3/4 cup dry white wine

4 cups small shrimps (without shells)

5 cups mixed nordic fish (I used haddock and salmon)  – cubed

Salt and pepper to taste

Make It Happen

Melt butter in a large pot, add all the vegetables (except the tomatoes) and cook for 10 minutes until tender.

Add sherry/noilly prat/port and white wine and reduce for 4 minutes.

Add the stock, tomato concentrate, saffron and vinegar. Boil for 15-20 minutes.

Add the fish and chopped tomatoes, bring to a soft boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add cream and stir.

Serve with bread and butter and good company.

Hopefully you enjoy as much as I did!