3 red mullet, descaled
450g/1lb of monkfish fillet
1 x 900g/2lb sea bass, descaled
12 raw large tiger prawns
5 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely chopped
1 bulb fennel, finely chopped (reserve the tops)
675g/1½lb tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp of fennel seeds
1 tsp tomato purée
1 small bunch freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 strips orange peel
500ml/1pt fish stock
2L/3½pt bottle mineral water
1 tsp saffron stamens
2 tbsp pernod, or similar
1. Behead the prawns, cut along the length of their backs with a sharp knife and remove the intestinal tract. Set aside. Cut the monkfish into 4cm/1½in chunks. Fillet the sea bass and red mullet, reserving the head and bones. Cut each fillet of sea bass into three pieces.
2. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add onion, garlic, leek, and fennel. Cook gently for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, but don’t overcook.
3. Stir in the tomatoes, fennel seeds, tomato purée, all the prawn shells and fish trimmings, the chopped parsley, thyme and bay leaves. Add the orange zest, fish stock and mineral water and finally the saffron. Bring to the boil and simmer gently, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes skimming the surface occasionally to remove any froth.
4. When the fish broth has reduced to about 1.7L/3½pt, remove from the heat and strain into a clean pan. Add the pernod, taste and season accordingly. Return to a simmer and add the monkfish, mussels, sea bass and red mullet. Bring back up to a simmer and add the prawns. Cook for a further 2 minutes or until the mussels have opened and the prawns have turned pink.
5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a warm serving plate and pour the soup into a tureen. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately