Portuguese Seafood Soup with Saffron Potatoes

, from Issue #54. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Portuguese Seafood Soup with Saffron Potatoes

The potatoes are usually cooked in this seafood soup, but instead I’ve cooked them separately with saffron and smoked paprika. They make a superb accompaniment along with a big dollop of garlic mayo.

Serves: 4-6


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small leek, thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
150 grams pumpkin, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon ground fennel
zest 1 lemon
½ cup white wine
1 x 400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
3 cups fish, vegetable or chicken stock
12 mussels, scrubbed
400 grams firm white fish fillets, cut into 3cm pieces (I used monkfish)
12 whole raw prawns
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
purchased garlic mayonnaise

Saffron potatoes
pinch saffron threads
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
500 grams small waxy potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
chopped flat-leaf parsley or coriander


Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the leek, fennel, carrot, pumpkin, garlic, chilli flakes and the ground fennel. Season generously, cover and cook for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft.

Add the lemon zest and wine and let it bubble up for 1 minute then add the tomatoes and stock. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes then add the mussels. Cover the pan and cook until the mussels have just begun to open, then add the fish and prawns.

Cover and continue to cook until all the mussels have opened and the fish and prawns are just cooked. Discard any mussels that do not open. Stir in the parsley.

Saffron potatoes: Combine the saffron threads, paprika and boiling water and leave for 5 minutes.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a deep sauté pan and cook the potatoes, garlic and onion with a good pinch of salt for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the saffron mixture, season and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the potatoes are tender and the liquid is reduced and glossy. If the liquid has reduced and the potatoes aren’t cooked, add a little more water and continue to cook. Stir in the parsley or coriander.

To serve: Ladle the soup into wide shallow bowls and divide the seafood evenly. Serve with a spoonful of the saffron potatoes and garlic mayo.