15/09/2009

Traditional Icelandic fish soup (halibut soup) - Fiskisúpa (lúðusúpa)

This soup is among the oldest recorded Icelandic recipes. It's sweet-sour taste is unusual for fish-based soups.

Traditionally, the recipe is given for halibut, but you can also use salmon, trout, wolf-fish or lumpfish, or other fatty fish.

1 1/2 kg fresh fish with bones, cut into pieces to fit in the pan
1 1/2 litre water
2 tbs white vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves

50 g flour
100 ml cold water

1/2 lemon
20 prunes
1-2 tbs sugar
200 ml water

potatoes
parsley

If the prunes are dry, soak them in water for an hour or so, or cook them in a little sugar-water with the zest of the 1/2 lemon until soft. Keep them whole.

Put water, salt, vinegar and bay leaves in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the fish. skim off the scum when the liquid boils again. cook the fish until it loosens from the bones. Strain the cooking liquid into another saucepan, leaving a little in the pan with the fish to keep it moist.

Mix together the flour and cold water into a smooth paste. Bring the strained cooking liquid to the boil and pour in the flour paste in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

When the soup is fully cooked, add the lemon juice and prunes, and if they were cooked, the prune cooking liquid with them.

Arrange the fish on a serving dish and surround with boiled potatoes, sprinkled with chopped parsley. Serve on the side with the soup.