Spring Fish Soup

This image courtesy of Johnny Miller

It could just as easily be called a “stew.” It is an extremely pretty, nonfattening main course that can easily be multiplied. Serve with large soup spoons, seafood forks, and a bowl for the shells. Use a pan wider than would seem normal. It helps the seafood—particularly clams—cook evenly. The pasta is optional. I like it to use it at the end to finish the delicious broth. I don’t add it to the soup.




Total Timeunder 30 minutes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Textureherby, savory, winey

Type of Dishfish soup, hot soup, soup


  • 2 cups fish stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 medium stalks celery, peeled and cut on the diagonal into ¼-inch-wide pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium scallions, trimmed of root end and dark green part and cut across into 1-inch pieces (about 2/3 cup)
  • 12 small clams, littleneck or winkles
  • 5 stalks asparagus, tough end snapped off, peeled, and cut into 1-inch lengths (about ½ cup)
  • ¾ cup shelled new peas (about 3 ounces; 8 ounces in the pod)
  • 12 smallest mussels
  • 8 medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 6 ounces cod fillet, skinned and cut into 2 pieces
  • ¼ cup tightly packed finely chopped tarragon
  • 2 cups gluten-free penne pasta (optional)
  • Olive oil


  1. Place the stock, wine, celery, and scallions in a wide 5- to 6-quart braising pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the clams and cook until they just begin to open, about 1 minute. Place the asparagus stems (not tips) and peas in the liquid and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the mussels and cook until they just begin to open, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Add the asparagus tips and place the fish on top, cooking until the fish is white on the surface. Sprinkle the tarragon over the soup. Do not add salt and pepper as the amount will vary greatly depending on the level of salt in the seafood. Serve immediately.

  2. Have a bowl of penne pasta cooked in salted water, drained, and tossed in olive oil for those who wish.


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