Latin fish soup with plantain & orange

Latin fish soup with plantain & orange

Chris Middleton

It might seem odd tucking into a bowl of hearty fish soup in the tropical heat of Mexico but sometimes it is just what you want. The rich variety of seafood available along the coast offers many unique Caribbean-influenced recipes. I was served this rustic soup by a fisherman’s wife along the coast of Veracruz. It was honest and deeply satisfying. Due to the full-flavoured nature of the dried achiote and guajillo chillies, it’s a fairly quick soup to prepare. Any firm white fish is suitable and, if potatoes are not your thing, simply swap them for sweet potatoes or pumpkin (winter squash).



Quantity Ingredient
2 dried guajillo chillies, roughly chopped
1 litre fish or chicken stock
100g achiote paste
250g fresh corn kernels
1 large handful oregano leaves, roughly chopped
80ml olive oil
2 bulbs fennel, cut into thin wedges
500g ripe tomatoes, sliced or quartered
200g kipfler potatoes, peeled and sliced
10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 oranges, grated zest
sea salt, to taste
400g kingfish fillet, cut into thick cubes
300g large prawns, peeled with heads left on
250g large mussels, cleaned and scrubbed
150g clams, cleaned and scrubbed


Quantity Ingredient
60ml olive oil
300g plantain or banana, thickly sliced
300g red bullhorn chillies, seeded and thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
100g unsalted butter
1 red onion, cut into 5 mm thick rings
4 oranges, segmented
1 small handful samphire, chopped
1 small handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


  1. To prepare the soup, dry-fry the chilli in a small frying pan over low heat, until fragrant.
  2. Combine the chilli, stock, achiote paste, corn and oregano in a medium saucepan and heat until simmering.
  3. Heat the oil in a wide paella-type pan over medium heat. Fry the fennel on both sides until golden brown. Add the tomatoes, potato and garlic and cook briefly without colouring.
  4. Add the infused stock and orange zest and gently simmer until the potato is tender. Season with salt.
  5. Add the fish, prawns and shellfish, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the shellfish open and the fish is cooked through. Remove the mussels and clams from their shells if you prefer.
  6. Meanwhile, to prepare the garnish, heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Cook the plantain, chillies and garlic until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the butter and onion and cook until the onion begins to soften. Add the orange segments and any residual juice to the pan and heat through.
  7. To serve, spoon the garnish over the soup and sprinkle with samphire and parsley. Present the pan in the centre of the table and allow your guests to help themselves.
Paul Wilson
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