Fish soups are great. There is nothing like tucking into a hearty full-flavoured broth on a cold winter day. Living as we do in Shepherd’s Bush there is an array of Middle Eastern food and spices. I love exploring the local stores like Damas Gate or Al-Abas and reading the food labels, there are so many unfamiliar tastes and delights on offer. One ingredient I was intrigued by was dried limes. Although I had read about them, I hadn’t cooked with them before. Now that I have, I am really looking forward to trying more Iranian cooking as they feature a lot as a key ingredient. Dried limes have a really distinct taste, they are quite tangy, sweet at the same time and the flavour goes really well with fish. I could imagine a lot of people might hate the taste of dried limes, but I love it. They give this soup a fantastic, fragrant and perfumy aroma (don’t be put off!) but be careful as a little goes a long way. I wouldn’t recommend eating any kind of fish soup, let alone one with dried limes at work as, from experience, it smelt out the whole office! oops. It tasted good though!
Fish soup with dried limes
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced finely
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1–2 dried limes, seeded, crushed and ground
1 x 400g tinned tomatoes
1 litre fish stock (make your own or use really good fresh fish stock)
1 teaspoon sugar
250g skinned white fish fillet, cut into 1cm slices
2 Tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and soften the onion, celery and garlic for 20–25 minutes. Once sweet and translucent, stir in the tumeric and dried limes, cook for 1 minute.
2. Add the fish stock, bring up to the boil and add sugar, salt and pepper.
3. Stir in the fish and parsley, simmer for 1 minute to poach the fish and serve.
(Recipe from Moro: The Cookbook (Ebury Press))