Icelandic Fish Soup

One chilly afternoon in Reykjavik, a couple of us decided to stop at a local café for lunch. Icelandic Fish Soup sounded like the right thing to order. It was thick, delicious, and, with a hunk of good bread, made a fine meal. I had discovered that, in Iceland, curry is a common seasoning for fish dishes or sauces, and the soup I had that afternoon was flavored with curry. The restaurant would not part with their recipe, but I think I have come pretty close to duplicating the flavor and texture of the soup. However, at the restaurant, the milk would have been half cream, and they probably used butter for sautéing the onions (Iceland, which is self-sufficient in dairy, likes butter). You can add these Icelandic touches, or try the still hearty and delicious but slightly lighter version below.

Icelandic Fish Soup

1/4 –1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 Tbs. dry)
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 lb. red-skinned potatoes, cut into chunks
1 Tbs. curry powder
1 generous cup blunt-cut green beans
1 generous cup sliced carrots
1 tsp. salt
2 lb. cod, or other firm, white fish, skinned, deboned, and cut into large pieces
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot (about 8 quarts), sauté the garlic, parsley, and onions in olive oil until transparent. Add potatoes and 6 cups water, bring to a boil, and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in curry powder, salt, green beans, and carrots. Add fish and return to boil. Boil for 15–20 minutes, or until fish is done. Turn off heat and stir in milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4–6.

(Note: frozen vegetables are perfectly acceptable—not much fresh stuff in Iceland in February! Also, if you use frozen fish fillets, you can just drop them into the pot whole and break them up after they’re cooked. A key to success with fish is to not overcook it. Unlike meat, fish gets tougher if it cooks longer.)

©2009 Cynthia Clampitt

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2 Comments

Filed under Food, Recipes, Travel

2 responses to “Icelandic Fish Soup

  1. Ms. G

    Thank you for posting the fish stew recipe. We have just come back from Iceland and I wanted to figure out how to make something like this.

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