Zuppa di Pesce

This weekend was a friends birthday and after a very long week the wine might have tasted just that bit too good. And the company of anything other than my computer screen was just that bit too appealing. All of this combined of course into an unexpectedly heavy night, one of those awful dawn light taxi rides, and a selection of strange photos that must have made sense at one time…


The start of Sunday was of course a bit of a write-off. But after a couple of hours rolling around, groaning and searching for a way to mainline caffeine; it hit me. I was craving something fresh, soothing and full of healthy proteins. I also wanted an excuse to eat an entire loaf of bread…Step over fry up. We’ve got a new hangover favorite – a big ol’ bowl of steaming fish deliciousness! And in honor of the beautiful Italian who had been the cause of it all it could only be a bowl of Zuppa di Pesce!

Luckily we have a great fishmongers near us so off I trotted to collect my treasure trove of fishy goodness. It may sound like it was a lot of effort but when all I had to do was walk up the road and point I can’t really take much credit. The cooking is equally as simple.

In the recipe below I have set out the fish I used based simply on what was available but if you have a hankering to swap something in – I often love a good bit of octopus in mine, or monkfish gives a nice meaty flavour – do feel free. The best bit about this recipe is you can use whatever is available and in whatever amounts. Just adding to the fact that it makes a dreamy hangover fix.

You’ll also see that I have used Nduja – a gloriously spicy, spreadable pork salami from Calabria. Don’t worry if you have no idea what that is or where to get it. You’re probably in the majority. So whilst I urge you to go on a hunt just so you can experience it’s god-like glory, for this recipe you can just swap it out for chilli flakes. Add as much or as little as you like depending on spice preference. We like things hot in our household so i’d be looking at a good tablespoon or so.

Finially my last bit of creative licence here was to add some chorizo. I haven’t included it in the recipe below as it’s addition was mostly a hungover hankering for chorizo. Nothing more, nothing less. If you have a similar hankering, or just some spare lying around I’d definetly suggest it’s addition. It’s not traditional but hey where’s the fun in sticking to the rules.

Zuppa di Pesce

  • Servings: 2/4 (depends how much fish you add)
  • Print


  • cod, cut into bite size pieces
  • squid cut into rings
  • prawns (I like to get all messy so keep the shell on but it’s up to you
  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • ½ large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 500g passata
  • 250ml water
  • 2 Tbs nduja
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Rustic Italian Bread or Baguette, toasted, rubbed with garlic, and drizzled with olive oil


Sauté the onions until tender but not browned.

Push the onion to one side of the pan and add a little more oil to the pan. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add the nduja, passata and water to the pan bringing to the boil. Reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add the seafood to the pan, starting with the seafood that takes the longest. So here it was the squid, then cod, and finally shellfish. All at about 5 minute intervals. After all the seafood is added, reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, at a slow simmer for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Serve with toasted, garlic-rubbed bread.

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