Fishermen's Soup


Our take on Hungary's tomato-and-paprika-based folk dish features halibut and mussels.

Quick Dinner Ideas: Fishermen’s Soup
Photo: Marcus Nilsson
Hands On Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
4 serves

A staple in coastal cuisines across the globe, seafood-based soup is often served as a means for using less popular fish. In Southern France, for example, bouillabaisse combines several types of fish simmered over the stove. Our version is a take on deep-red Hungarian fisherman’s soup, which get its color from tomatoes and paprika. Traditionally, fisherman prepared this soup over an open fire along a river bank, and then served it directly from the kettle with bread.

While Hungarians commonly used river fish (including heads and tails)—carp, catfish, perch, and pike—our recipe features halibut fillets and mussels, both widely available at grocery stores. We bolster the seafood with complex flavor from leeks, fennel, diced tomatoes, and crushed red pepper. Serve with mixed olives for a flavorful accompaniment that evokes crashing waves and salty sea air.

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into ¼-inch-thick half-moons

  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 1 small fennel bulb, quartered and sliced

  • cup dry sherry

  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 pound skinless halibut fillet (or other firm white fish), cut into 2-inch pieces

  • ½ pound mussels, scrubbed

  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

  • ½ cup mixed olives


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and then add leeks, garlic, and fennel. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

  2. Add sherry, tomatoes and their juices, red pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

  3. Add fish and mussels, and then simmer gently until the fish is cooked through and mussels have opened, 4 to 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in parsley and serve with olives.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

428 Calories
24g Fat
28g Carbs
28g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Calories 428
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 1495mg 65%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Total Sugars 23g
Protein 28g

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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