I've been making a version of this recipe in the cafe for some time now using smoked haddock. I found that the slightly stronger tasting buckling, which are whole, cold-smoked herring, and the buttery swede go well in this traditional Scottish fish soup.
1 medium onion, finely chopped
cold-pressed rapeseed or olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 rashers of cured streaky bacon, cut into 1cm/½in strips
2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
½ swede, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1¾ pints vegetable stock
425ml/15fl oz whole milk
generous dash cream
4 spring onions, sliced, to serve
Heat the butter in a pan and fry the onion until softened. Add a touch of rapeseed or olive oil to prevent the butter from burning. Season with some salt - this helps to soften the onion.
Once the onions have picked up some colour, add the bacon and the celery. Keep stirring over a low heat until cooked.
Add the swede, potatoes and the carrot. Stir and keep cooking for about 10 minutes so that all the flavours develop.
Meanwhile, prepare the fish. Remove the heads, tails and peel off the skin. Delicately fillet the fish by removing the bones and roe. If the roe is soft you can add it to the soup later on. If not then discard.
Add the stock to the vegetables and stir well. Bring to the boil and simmer until the potatoes and swede are just tender.
Add the milk, a dash of cream and gently bring back to a simmer. Flake the fish and stir it into the pan with any soft roe kept aside. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, garnish with spring onion and serve.
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