Sunday, February 19, 2017

Nigel Slater's Tomato, Fennel and Cod Soup: A Unique Fish Soup for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

This is a two-fish-dish week. I'm both working through some frozen fish and trying to add a little more protein to my diet this week. I had a bit over a pound of wild cod in the freezer and had been wanting to try this Tomato Fish Broth recipe from Nigel Slater in the The Guardian. I like unusual flavor combination and the combination of the fish, fennel, tomato and mushroom with the olives, pickles, dill and sour cream sounded tempting. 

I think dill can be a polarizing ingredient that people either love or hate (my sisters both detest it while I adore it) but if you do enjoy it, you will likely love this soup which has wonderful and unique flavor. I made a few changes to the recipe--noted in red below. It was perfect--light but warming for a cool breezy weekend.

Nigel says, "It was intriguing to come across a soup seasoned with sour ingredients. The version I ate in Helsinki was made with what they call pike-perch, but any sustainable white-fleshed fish that holds together well can be used." 

Tomato Fish Broth
Adapted from Nigel Slater via
(Serves 4 to 6)

onions: 2 medium (I used sweet yellow onions)
olive oil
garlic: 1 clove (I used 2)
tomatoes: 5 medium-sized
fennel: 1 small bulb
button mushrooms: a couple of handfuls
water or vegetable stock: 1 litre or 4 cups (I increased the amount for a brothier soup & used 3 cups shrimp stock & 3 cups light, low-sodium veggie broth)
gherkins: 2 medium-sized  (I used 5 baby dills + some juice) 

(I added 1 Tbsp capers)
olives: 16 (I used
Picholine green olives)
(I added about 1/4 cup of tiny pickled sweet red peppers)
parsley: a few sprigs
dill: 3 bushy sprigs
white fish fillets: 500g (about 1 1/4 lbs) (I used cod)
sour cream 4-6 tbsp (I used kefir labne--yogurt cheese)

Peel and roughly chop the onions. Soften them in a little olive oil in a heavy-based pan over a moderate heat. Peel and crush the garlic and add to the onions. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pan. Let them cook to a slush with the onions. 

Finely slice the fennel and mushrooms and add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the fennel has started to soften a little. Pour in the water or stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, adding salt and black pepper.

Slice the gherkins, stone and halve the olives, chop the parsley and dill and set aside. Lower the fish into the stock and cook for 3 or 4 minutes until the fish is just opaque. Stir the gherkins, olives, parsley and dill into the soup. Correct the seasoning and, if you wish, add a little of the liquid from the gherkin jar. Ladle into warm bowls and add a spoonful of soured cream to each.

Notes/Results: I really love this soup which is unique in flavor profile and quite delicious when it is all combined together. The sour, tangy bites of the pickles, olives, dill and capers, along with the yogurt take the simple tomato-fennel-onion-cod combination to another level. I used good broth--some homemade shrimp stock and some good low-sodium veggie stock base and added some of the optional pickle juice which gave it a nice depth of flavor. The added tiny red pickled peppers were mainly added for color and the capers because I love them but they added to the mix. The kefir labne made a great substitution to sour cream and adds protein and probiotics with a great tangy flavor when stirred into the mix, but you can used the sour cream or crème fraîche or even plain yogurt. The only thing missing was some good bread that I forgot to buy to soak up the extra broth. I would definitely make this again.

This post is linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where the coming week is our February Potluck--our chance to make any recipe from our current chef Heidi Swanson, or any of our previous IHCC featured chefs. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.

We have some good friends with delicious dishes waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen from last week--let's have a look!

Ali of Fix Me a little Lunch shared Macadamia Lemon Shrimp Salad and said, "I’ve been curious about the whole Whole 30 thing – by and large, minus the carbs, cheese and dairy, Clay and I eat a pretty healthy diet.  However, my lunches have been a little decadent here of late (I’m blaming the weather and the need for comfort food).  As spring is finally starting to peek around the corner, I think I’m ready for some healthier lunches.  So this week’s recipe is my inspired #FoodBlogerLove salad, which is Whole 30, quick, easy and definitely healthy."

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor tried Ina Garten's Pea Soup that she described as "more like pea sludge." She said, "No matter how much broth I added it would absorb.  Like pancakes soak up became a sludge.  Yes, I did eat it and bless his heart, my supportive husband ate it too. It tasted fairly good considering the texture was like hummus. We had to use bread to scoop it, like hummus, rather than soaking up the non-existent broth.  Too weird.  Why am I sharing this dumpster fire of a meal?  Because we learn from mistakes in the kitchen and I know I don't want to make this recipe again."

Debra of Eliot's Eats shared Lentil Soup with Chorizo inspired by a recent book review. She said, "I wanted to make that lentil soup that she and her skiing partner ate for every lunch while in Cerro Catedral (Patagonia).  The ate so much of this soup their “pee started to smell weird.” (That’s a great endorsement to make this soup, don’t you think?  My motivation came from her description that it was sooooo good that they ate it every day.) This is a hearty dish and I would eat it everyday for lunch as well if I could."

Here at Kahakai Kitchen I made Scrambled Egg Sandwiches with Sriracha-Garlic Mayo for a recent book review. I love egg sandwiches and the Sriracha-Garlic Mayo is my adaptation of a spicy garlic aioli that is served on avocado toast at my favorite local coffee shop. It went well with the eggs and took the basic sandwich to a new level. 

Mahalo to everyone who joined in this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • you are welcome to add the wonderful Souper Sundays logo (created by Ivy at Kopiaste) to your post and/or blog (optional).

 Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Nigel Slater is one of my favorites. I just love reading Kitchen Diaries even if I'm not out to cook anything. His recipes are good too but I love his writing style.
    What a fine soup you've put on here! Tomatoes and cod? Love it! I am getting better, getting my energy back so I hope to have a good submission next week. ❤️

  2. Gorgeous bowl! Hearty and colorful, perfect for this time of year. :)

  3. That is an interesting soup, and like you, I love the brightness and the zing from pickles, olives, and capers. The whole soup was reminding me of something Scandinavian and then when I read he had it in Finland it all made sense. Looks very pretty!

    I also love the egg sandwich you made with sriracha mayo. That gives me an idea for jazzing up my egg toast in the mornings.


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