Italian Fish Soup

From Culinary Signature Collection Appetizers, Rudi Sodamin


We serve this soup at our Canaletto restaurant on board the ms Eurodam, where it’s called Zuppa di Pesci.  Its fresh seafood flavors and aromatic broth have made it one of the most popular dishes on that menu.



  • 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • ½ lb. carrots (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into thin strips
  • ½ lb. leeks (about 2 medium), white and light green parts only, washed and cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 1 ½ tbsp. minced garlic
  • ¼ tbsp. saffron threads
  • 1/8 tbsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, cored, peeled, and finely diced
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry white wine (Sauvignon blanc or pinot blanc)
  • 8 cups white fish stock
  • Sea salt
  • 1 lb. striped bass, Alaskan rockfish, or red snapper with skin on, cut into 6 pieces
  • 4 ounces salmon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 4 ounces medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 ounces bay scallops
  • 4 ounces squid, cut into rings
  • 6 sprigs fresh fennel or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


  1. In a heavy 6- or 8-quart soup pot of enamel-lined casserole, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the carrot and leek strips and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. With tongs, transfer about half of the carrots and leeks to a bowl and set aside for the garnish. Add the onions and garlic to the remaining vegetables in the pan and cook, stirring, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes (reduce the heat if the vegetables begin to take on color)
  2. Add the saffron and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, uncover, until the liquid is reduced by about half.
  3. Stir in the fish stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Carefully pour the soup through a fine sieve into another soup pot; discard the solids in the sieve.
  4. Season the strained soup with salt. Add the striped bass, salmon, shrimp, scallops, and squid; bring the soup to a simmer (by the time it simmers, the fish should be cooked through). Adjust the seasoning.
  5. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, reheat the reserved carrot and leeks strips in the remaining 1-tablespoon oil until the carrots are cooked through but still slightly firm to the bite.  Season with salt. To serve, divide the snapper pieces and soup among warmed bowls. Top with the carrot and leek strips. Garnish with the sprigs of fennel and serve immediately, passing a pepper mill (if using)

Bon Appétit!