Skagen fish soup

Skagen fish soup

The Scandinavian Cookbook
Lars Ranek

The northern tip of Denmark is a magnificent place. The light is very special due to the sea’s reflections in the sky, which make the light seem to come from all corners of the world. The mountains of southern Norway shelter the sky over Skagen and somehow cleanse the air. Huge sand dunes line the coast in the form of a large arrow pointing north. Two different seas, coming from east and west respectively, meet at the tip, where the currents clash, divide and return again in an eternal battle, leaving a long sand bar in between that keeps shifting position. Artists have been drawn to Skagen from all over Scandinavia for generations. Many famous dishes have therefore developed in this area and this is one of its famous fish soups.

Fish stock


Quantity Ingredient
1kg fish bones, from flat fish
1 garlic clove
1 onion
1 leek
1 carrot
1 large ripe tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
200ml dry white wine
3 bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
2 litres water


Quantity Ingredient
100ml dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
200ml double cream
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 carrot, cut into small cubes
200g crayfish tails
12 giant prawns
100g salmon fillet
100g pollack fillet
dill sprigs, to garnish


  1. First make the stock. Rinse the fish bones in cold water. Roughly chop the vegetables then sauté them slowly in olive oil for 3–5 minutes so that they do not colour. Add the white wine, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt and boil for 5 minutes. Add the fish bones and the water. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 30 minutes. Pour the stock through a strainer, reserving the liquid and discarding the fish bones and vegetables.
  2. To make the soup, put the white wine in a large saucepan and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add the reserved fish stock, the lemon juice, cream and saffron and bring slowly to the boil.
  3. Add the leek, carrot, crayfish and prawns to the soup. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the salmon and pollack into 2 cm cubes. Add the cubed fish and let it simmer for 2 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, then serve very hot garnished with dill.
Trine Hahnemann
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