This traditional soup from the Basque region of France is made with local merlu fish, asparagus, peas and parsley. This recipe takes only 30 minutes to prepare, cook and serve – of course, crusty bread is a perfect accompaniment.
- 500 g clams, cleaned
- 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 sprig thyme
- 3 roasted long red capsicum, sliced
- ¼ cup chopped parsley, plus extra to garnish
- 250 ml (1 cup) white wine
- 500 ml (2 cups) fish stock
- ½ tsp ground espelette or hot paprika
- 1.2 kg merlu or hake cutlets
- 100 g green peas
- 12 white asparagus spears
- 5 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
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.
Place clams in a hot saucepan and cook in own juices for 2 minutes or until opened. Set aside.
Place olive oil, onion, garlic and thyme in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes, then add roasted peppers, parsley and wine. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the wine is reduced by half. Add fish stock, a pinch of salt and espelette. Add merlu cutlets and cover with a lid. Simmer for 8 minutes.
Add peas, and place asparagus on top of the fish. Arrange clams in the pan, followed by the egg. Garnish with extra chopped parsley and serve.