Spicy fishermen’s soup

Just in time for the cooler temperatures, Sean Gravina makes a spicy fishermen’s soup with local fish and king prawns. He serves it with a French rouille and toasted Maltese bread. 

Spicy fishermen’s soup

Servers 4


  • 1 bouquet garni (1 bay lea, sprig parsley and thyme)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, finely sliced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 start anise
  • 2 fresh chillies
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (kunserva)
  • 700ml fish stock
  • Pinch of saffron strands
  • 100ml double cream
  • 200g king prawns
  • 400g red mullet
  • 200g lampuki


  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 pinch chilli flakes
  • 200ml of olive oil
  • 200ml of vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic


  1. Heat a pan and add the olive oil, leek, fennel, star anise, bay leaves and the chilli. Sauté for about 4-5 mins, add the tomato paste and sauté for another minute. Add the fish stock and saffron and bring to a simmer.
  2. Let it cook until reduced by a third, then pour in the cream.
  3. To make the rouille, whisk the egg yolks with the seasoning, lemon juice, saffron and chilli flakes.
  4. Slowly add the oil in a thin stream, whisking continuously.
  5. Stir in the garlic. Add a little warm water to thin it down if you need to. Set aside until needed
  6. Five minutes before you are ready to serve, bring the stock to a simmer.
  7. Add the prawns and cook for 2 mins, then add the fish. Poach for another minute, just until the fish turns opaque.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and season accordingly.
  9. Ladle the stew into warm bowl and garnish with little chopped chilli and the rouille.

This recipe first appeared on Gourmet Today TV, aired on TVM on 23 October, 2015.