zupppa di pesce

hearty seafood soup

I’m a little unsure what to call this. It’s much more hearty than a soup, but I don’t like the word stew. My preference is to call it Zuppa di Pesce, but my version is not specifically traditional. It does, however, adhere to the basic premise of the dish being a garlic and tomato-based sauce with assorted seafood. So if you are Italian and are offended that I have left something out, please forgive me.

I’ve adapted this recipe from my spicy calamari soup in my cookbook, and chunked it up with mussels and line fish making it next-level stuff. You can add whatever mix of seafood and shellfish you have available, but sustainable is most definitely advised.

* If you are in South Africa and want to instantly check the status of a fish, you need to put the following number into your cell phone: 0794998795

If you are unsure whether the fish you are about to eat/buy is sustainable or not, simply SMS the name of the fish to the above number and you will receive a reply immediately informing you of the status of the fish or visit the SASSI website to learn more. I do this ALL the time. In restaurants and in fish shops.

I like to dunk slices of toasted white bread in to suck up the flavour, but of course, garlic toasts would be a whole lot better.

To make the garlic toast, crush 1 or 2 cloves of garlic and add this to about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add freshly ground pepper, a sprinkle of salt and a pinch of dried herbs (optional). This makes a quick infused oil which you brush over sliced Italian bread that you have placed on an oven tray. Grill in the oven until golden brown on either side.

Recipe – Serves 4 – 6

zupppa di pesce

A hearty sea food stew or zuppa di pesce
Print Recipe
hearty seafood soup


  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 x 410g tins chopped peeled tomatoes puréed through a blender
  • ½ - 1 t dried chilli flakes
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 450 g – 500g calamari rings or strips – if frozen thaw before
  • 1 kg fresh mussels in their shell cleaned and beards removed
  • 350 g sustainable line fish cut into cubes
  • 500 ml seafood or chicken stock
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh basil
  • 80 ml fresh cream


  • Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pot, then add the onion and celery and
  • cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and white wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the stock, puréed tomato, chilli, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 50 – 60 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Add the calamari, mussels and line fish. Put the lid on and simmer for about 5 minutes until the fish is cooked and the mussel shells have opened up. Discard any unopened shells.
  • Stir through the cream and basil, simmer for a few more minutes and serve in large bowls with toast.
Author: Sam Linsell

hearty seafood soup

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  1. O.k. For one thing I Love Seafood and that’s no joke !! I just haven’t ever liked mussels but other people do as for the other ingredients no problem!! So i might make it someday for myself !!

    Sincerely , Frances Joyce Barker… =D

  2. Carolie de Koster says:

    Hi Sam

    I promised my hubby a seafood soup for the weekend… it is Father’s day in NZ – and I have been making so many vege one’s recently and will indulge in this!

  3. Carolie de Koster says:

    Hi Sam

    I promised my hubby a seafood soup for the weekend… it is Father’s day in NZ – and I have been making so many vege one’s recently and will indulge in this! Thank you!

  4. My Nana lives in Cape Town and keeps telling me how the days are rainy and chilly while I’m enjoying the last bits of summer. I feel like this would be perfect for their lousy-weather days or the upcoming lousy weather days for us in the Northern Hemisphere!

  5. Thanks Laura x

  6. HI Megan, yes everything is a bit upside down from my side. Enjoy the last bit of summer! We are having very hot weather now, so enjoying what is to come.

  7. HI Frances, id say just add whatever sefood you like.

  8. Pour me a bowl of that!!!

  9. forgiven 🙂 I do so though without the cream, so good

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