This warming soup is traditional stew from Marseille, France’s largest city on the Mediterranean coast, by the fisherman who wanted to cook the fish they couldn’t sell at the markets. Traditionally made with bony rockfish, it's the kind of dish you can add whatever fresh seafood you manage to bring home from the ocean.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (11 votes)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, finely sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • pinch salt
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 250 ml fish stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 250 g mussels
  • 400 g barramundi fillet, sliced 2 cm thick
  • 6 prawns, shell and head removed, tail on

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frypan on medium heat and brown the onion and garlic for 2 minutes, then add the celery and carrot. Toss in tomatoes, Worcestershire and a pinch of salt, simmer for 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns, fennel seeds, turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring stock and white wine to the boil in a separate frypan with a lid, add mussels and cover until mussels open. Drain, keep the juice and set mussels aside. Add stock to the tomato base and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and reduce for five minutes.

In a frypan on medium-high heat, add the remaining olive oil and cook the barramundi for no more 2 than minutes each side. When you turn the fish over, ladle the sauce slowly to cover. When all the sauce has been added, bury the prawns at the bottom of the tomato base. After 90 seconds, remove pan from heat and top with the mussels.

Serve the pan at the table and ladle the sauce into bowls along with the prawns, barramundi and mussels and sprinkle over remaining parsley.


• If you want it smooth use a stick blender and whiz the sauce before reducing, and pass it through a chinois (fine sieve) before adding to the fish. I prefer it chunky.


Recipe from The Healthy Cook by Dan Churchill, with photographs by Michael Marchment.