Fish Head Soup For The Soul


Strange though it may seem, and personally I think it’s exceedingly strange, one of the two most common search terms that readers use to find my blog is “fish heads.”  The other, perhaps equally bizarre, is “scorpions and lavender.”  Now I ask you, is that what pops into your mind as the outstanding features of French Letters, fish heads and scorpions?  And yes, for those of you that have wondered, I do know what pops into some people’s minds when they think of French letters, but never mind that now.

So for all of you fish head fanciers, here’s a veritable fish head bonanza. 


The big fish stand in the market yesterday had the makings of soupe de poisson, which is French for “fish head soup,” for only 3 Euros a kilo.  That’s because there were hardly any rockfish involved; when there are, the price goes up to 22 Euros a kilo. 


The more-delicious rockfish are like the one prehistorically spiky little red guy in the front of this picture.  But his very solitude is what made my catch affordable, so I decided that the time had come to make soupe de poisson, and voilà.  After posing so fetchingly, these fish hopped obligingly into a giant pot where they boiled themselves into shreds.  After which I got to rub the resulting fish head slurry through a strainer, bones, fins, and all, in search of a moment of culinary ecstasy.

We won’t be eating the actual soup for a few days and it’s resting in a primal state in the freezer, awaiting some final enrichment and garnishes for an upcoming dinner party, so I can’t tell you yet whether it was all worth it.  It makes a dramatically huge mess, I can attest to that.


And I can also affirm that even the big one that got away has to watch his back.  And that yep, I did cook the starfish too. 

And look here, more fish head soup!

Explore posts in the same categories: At Home In France

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4 Comments on “Fish Head Soup For The Soul”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Don’t you use the whole fish. Why is it fish HEAD soup? Let us know how it goes with the dinner party.

  2. Pat Says:

    I never think of your French Leters and fish heads in the same breath. But I do remember warm gingerbread!

  3. […] I mentioned here, an amazing number of my readers are fascinated with fish heads.  Why this should be true I do not […]

  4. genevieve Says:

    how delightful. i followed the term “fish heads” to your sight–in hope of a good soup recipe. what i got instead was fish photos that brought me back to the outdoor markets of the meditteranean, which i used to love and miss very dearly. vive la france! e merci!

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