Fish Soup with Fennel and Grape Leaves

From Matthew Altizer

2012 Mar/Apr

Add any seafood you like – prawns, squid and scallops all make wonderful additions. Serve with lots of crusty French bread for dipping.


  • 1/2 c. grape leaves in brine
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 2 heads fennel, cored and finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 t. fennel seeds
  • 3 T. ouzo (anise-flavoured Greek apéritif)
  • 3 c. fish stock
  • salt
  • 1 lb. halibut, cubed
  • 20 mussels, cleaned
  • 1 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • dried mint and chile flakes to taste


Rinse the grape leaves and slice them finely, then set aside. Heat the oil over low heat and sauté the fennel, garlic and fennel seeds until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the grape leaves and ouzo to the pan, followed by 2 c. fish stock and a pinch of salt. Simmer for five minutes, and add the seafood. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the fish is just finished. Whisk together the yogurt, egg yolk and remaining stock, then mix it into the soup, check for seasoning and heat the soup gently. Serve immediately with lemon wedges to squeeze into the soup and garnish with a sprinkling of dried mint and chile flakes.

Serves 4.