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Italian Fish Soup

ingredients

serves 4 - 6
1 kg (2 lb) assorted prepared fish (including mixed fish fillets, squid, etc)
2 onions, sliced thinly
2 celery stalks, sliced thinly
a few sprigs of parsley
2 bay leaves
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup white wine
1 litre (1 3/4 pints) 4 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 carrot, chopped finely
425 g (14 oz) can peeled tomatoes, pureed
2 potatoes, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
350 g (12 oz) fresh mussels
175 g (6 oz) peeled prawns (shrimp)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper crusty bread, to serve

method

1. Cut the cleaned and prepared fish into slices or cubes and put into a large saucepan with half the onion and celery, the parsley sprigs, bay leaves, wine and water. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.

2. Strain the fish stock and discard the vegetables. Skin the fish, remove any bones and reserve.

3. Heat the oil in a pan, finely chop the remaining onion and fry with the garlic, carrot and remaining celery until soft but not coloured. Add the pureed canned tomatoes, potatoes, tomato puree (paste), oregano, reserved stock and seasonings. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potato is almost tender.

4. Meanwhile, thoroughly scrub the mussels. Add to the pan with the prawns (shrimp) and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened (discard any that stay closed).

5. Return the fish to the soup with the chopped parsley, bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.

6. Serve the soup in warmed bowls with chunks of fresh crusty bread, or put a toasted slice of crusty bread in the bottom of each bowl before adding the soup. If possible, remove a few half shells from the mussels before serving.

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