This my take on what is a lovely, wholesome dish. I tried a lovely version in Saratoga Springs in 2007, but wanted to make a version without the bacon rind. I hate mixing seafood and meat.
Ingredients (serves 4)
For the stock
Heads of 4 sea bass
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
(if you have more fish off-cuts and heads, use them)
For the soup
400gr of white fish, I used coley, cut in large chunks
1 onion, cut in strips
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
parsley, chopped (separate the harder stalks from the leaves)
mushrooms (quartered if small)
[shelled mussells if you have them-I didn't]
3-4 medium-sized potatoes, cut in cubes
In a saucepan, boil the ingredients for the stock for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat some olive oil and butter in a different saucepan, shallow fry the garlic and onions for a few minutes. Add the potatoes and parsley stalks and stir for a few more minutes.
Remove the fish heads from the stock and pure it in with the potatoes, adding hot water if necessary. Add salt and pepper. Boil for about 15 minutes or so. When the potatoes are cooked, take some out, mash them and leave them aside. Add the mushrooms, prawns and sweet corn and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the chunks of coley and simmer very gently for about 10 minutes (or until you're happy with it). Return the mashed potato in the mix, stir gently, turn off and allow to stand for about 10 minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of the fresh parsley and crusty bread.
(note: I chose not to use milk or cream as I find it culturally challenging to mix dairy and fish. Soups don't always have to be cloudy.)