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The Ultimate Sea Food Soup

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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2 blue crabs

1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp

1 lemon, halved and juiced

2 bay leaves

1 small fennel bulb, halved

1 orange, zest peeled in big strips

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

6 fresh thyme sprigs

2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1/2 head garlic

1 leek, halved

1/2 onion

5 cups cold water

2 cups dry white wine

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 lobster claws

Extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch saffron threads

2 lobster tails

4 pounds black sea bass, bones reserved, *see Cook's note

Rouille, recipe follows

Croutons, recipe follows

Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish


1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped

5 garlic cloves

1 cup mayonnaise

Pinch saffron threads

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 lemon, juiced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


18 (1/2-inch thick) baguette slices

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. To make the fish stock, hack up the crabs with a large sharp knife and put them into a big stockpot. Peel and de-vein the shrimp and put the shells into the pot (reserve the shrimp for later). Add the fish bones on top. Add lemon and lemon juice, bay leaves, fennel, strip of orange zest, parsley, and thyme. Add the tomatoes, squeezing as you add them. Add garlic, leek, onion, water, and wine. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Place over a medium heat. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, but don't let it boil. Skim and discard the fish foam that rises to the surface. Remove from heat.
  2. Put the lobster claws into a large cast iron serving pot and strain the stock over them.
  3. Turn the temperature up and simmer for 5 minutes. Add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of saffron. Lastly add the reserved shrimp and lobster tails, and cook for 3 minutes. Add large bite sized pieces of sea bass and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. To serve: Place pieces of seafood in a big soup bowl. Put a spoonful of Rouille on Croutons and ladle soup on top.


  1. To make the rouille, put the red pepper, garlic, mayonnaise, saffron, cayenne, and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until combined and smooth. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. To make the croutons lightly brush the baguette slices with olive oil and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.

Cook’s Note

You can also use non-oily fish such as Snapper, Halibut, Grouper, or Monkfish

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Dan Churchill

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