Sea Bass and Shrimp Soup

For an elegant touch, replace the 8 cups of water with 4 cups of water and 4 cups of dry white wine.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 25 minutesTotal: 1 hour 15 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 8 cups water (or 4 cups water and 4 cups dry white wine)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 6 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. tomatoes
  • 1⁄2 lb. shrimp
  • 2 lbs. sea bass fillets
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 slices toasted Italian bread


  • Pour the water (and wine, if using) into a soup pot; add the onion, carrot, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, 2 of the whole garlic cloves, the black peppercorns, and the bay leaf. Boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes. (This mixture is called court bouillon.)
  • While the court bouillon is cooking, mince the remaining 3 garlic cloves. Coarsely chop the tomatoes. Peel the shrimp and remove their veins, discarding everything but the shrimp themselves.
  • When the court bouillon is done cooking, remove it from the heat. Add the sea bass, cover, and simmer for 12 to 16 minutes, making sure not to let the liquid boil. (Be careful not to overcook the fish. It should be simmered for about 6 to 8 minutes per pound.)
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and simmer the minced garlic, the remaining 3 tablespoons of parsley, and the tomatoes for 6 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for another 3 minutes, adding a little warmed water (or dry white wine) if you need more liquid.
  • When the sea bass is ready, remove it from the pot using a slotted spoon; cover the fish to keep it warm. Strain the court bouillon, discarding the solids. Keep it on low heat.
  • Add the sea bass to the shrimp mixture, stirring it very carefully. Rewarm. Add 3 cups of the strained court bouillon to the fish-shrimp mixture. Keep the remaining court bouillon on low heat.
  • Place a piece of the Italian bread in the bottom of each individual soup bowl. Ladle the court bouillon over the bread, then ladle the fish-shrimp mixture over that.