Fish and Seafood, Soups, Stews and Sandwiches

Zuppa di Pesce (Haddock, Shrimp Soup)

Loreto February 24, 2017

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Zuppa di Pesce,  a soup with clean rich flavors and a deeply rich seafood broth. Fine dining at its best, right in the luxury of your own dining room.

Zuppa di pesce

Zuppa di Pesce (Haddock, Shrimp Soup), a luxurious and classy bowl of deliciousness, from the elegant slow stewed broth to the succulent steamed haddock and shrimp. A great dish to have for a fine romantic dinner for two, or an elegant family dinner, either way, a most delightful seafood affair!



Zuppa to me brings back so many childhood memories, especially winter ones. Particularly on Sundays when sauce wasn’t simmering on the stove, there was the aroma of mirepoix lingering in the air. I don’t know what it is but that trinity of celery, carrots and onions always make me feel warm, comforted, and hungry. Zuppa di Pesce, or fish soup in English, was not a favorite of mine as a child. Maybe the smell of fish and shrimp, or the texture, but I am sure I am not alone amongst many childhoods that were not fond of fish soup. I distinctly remember one memory where my brother and I got into so much trouble for.

It was summer and a hot one, I was in junior high school and my brother Mauro was in high school. My parents had made a fish soup using salted dry cod (baccalà) and a tomato enriched broth. The smell alone was so strong and I knew tonight we are going to bed hungry. In our household, if you didn’t eat what was put on the table there was not anything else to be had. Well, we sat at the table Mauro and I, staring at each other, my brother with a look of disgust, not only from the fact that we had to eat this soup, but from having to sit at the table with me, a younger brother, always wanting my big brother to acknowledge me and allow me to hang out with all his friends, but never happened. I was told to keep away. Well on this particular day sitting at the table in the basement, as my parents had two kitchens: one on the main floor, my mothers, and one in the basement my fathers. They argued a lot when cooking together so to preserve their relationship one would cook part of the meal upstairs and one downstairs, surprising one another with their creations. The only time they really worked together was later on in life, when bread making, baking, and pizza dough was on the list. So back to my brother and I, soup poured, spoons in hand and just a bit on the tip of our tongues and that was enough of a taste for us. My brother had a mischievous look in his eyes, and everything went slow mode. He reached for a plastic spoon, and I was thinking what would he want a plastic spoon when there was a regular spoon in his hand, oh no my answer came quickly as he scooped up some soup in that plastic spoon cocked it back and released it in my direction. Before I knew it my face flung back and to the right being hit with multiple splashes and drops of smelly soup. I was not one to just sit and take it so a quick dodge, and I had a plastic spoon too and proceeded to retaliate with multiple successive strikes. It did not end well. The kitchen was a mess, my mother livid and smoking behind the ears. Us, my brother and I, well let’s leave that to your imagination. Just think, Italian old school family, food wasted, unnecessary mess made, and a very angry Italian mom with a wooden spoon in hand, lol. All I could think was RUN! but she was good and the rest is history.

Later on in life I began to really enjoy fish and seafood, and today it fills me with smiles and warmth as it brings me back to Italy, which I adore.

Without further ado, I give you Zuppa di Pesce!

Zuppa di pesce

This Zuppa di Pesce, is so flavorful and tasty, with a delightful aroma. When I think of this dish it reminds me of fine dining. The best part is it is so easy to make. We purchased the fish from a new local market known as Loblaw City Market, located in the brewery district of Edmonton. I love this store and it has a great fish market with great employees, willing to go that extra mile to get you what you want. The shrimp I purchased from T&T, a great Asian market to shop at.

Zuppa di pesce

The start of any great soup is the base. A combination of carrots, onions, and celery sauteed beautifully, with added flavor from some sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and bay leaves. What I love about bay leaf is it intensifies flavors of soups and stews. It has that deep aromatic quality to it, and a great infuser for the fish and shrimp. I peeled and cleaned the shrimp, and added the shell and head to the simmering mirepoix. In goes some water and fish stock bouillon, and all that is needed is some time to let it flavor up. The haddock I seared very quickly in a hot pan and finished it in the steaming broth.

Zuppa di pesce

I love the elegance and finesse of this dish. The aroma rich in that intensified broth, and hints of bay leaf and smokiness of paprika. The flavors out of this world. The broth rich, clean, with the flavors of the slow steeped shrimp shells and halibut making its mark in a most subtle way. The shrimp that was placed at the end and cooked just with the hot broth, is tender, succulent and full of flavor. The halibut, buttery, robust, with just that slight quick sear to seal all the juices in and the hot broth caressing its flesh with a gentleness, leaving the haddock, rich, moist, flaky, and so full of flavor. Little hints of parsley add a delightful freshness and spice.

If you are looking for a recipe that is luxurious, special and memorable, our Zuppa di Pesce may be just what you are looking for. Treat your family, or special someone, to an extravagant meal.

P.S. If serving to kids, keep plastic spoons locked up, lol.


Buon Appetito!

Song of the day: “Mani nelle Mani” by Michele Zarrillo, an Italian singer. Love this song!

Zuppa di pesce

Zuppa di Pesce (Haddock, Shrimp Soup)

  • Author: Loreto
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Main, Fish
  • Method: Cooking


Zuppa di Pesce,  a soup with clean rich flavors and a deeply rich seafood broth. Fine dining at its best, right in the luxury of your own dining room.


  • 350 g fresh haddock cut in half
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Crushed sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 large fresh shrimp with shells and head intact


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup celery diced finely
  • 1/4 cup carrots diced finely
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion chopped fine
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 fish stock bouillon cube
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  • 2 slices of good rustic crusty bread



  1. Peel shrimp and take off head.
  2. Wash shell and head with cold water and set aside.
  3. Devein shrimp, wash and set aside.
  4. In a medium soup pot drizzle in olive oil.
  5. Heat oil to a medium heat, and add in celery, carrots, and onions, and saute till vegetables soften.
  6. Season with sea salt, crushed black pepper, onion powder, paprika, and bay leaves.
  7. Add in shrimp shells, and shrimp head, and saute for a couple of minutes.
  8. Pour in water and drop in bouillon cube.
  9. Cover and lower heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes.


  1. While broth is simmering, season halibut with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat up olive oil in a saute pan.
  3. Place haddock onto hot pan and sear on each side for 1 minute.
  4. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, take off heat and set aside.


  1. Take broth off heat and strain with a sieve.
  2. Place haddock and shrimp in a warmed soup bowl and pour hot broth over them.
  3. Let steep for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Serve with a side of crusty bread.
  6. Time to eat!
  7. Enjoy!
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Zuppa di pesce

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  • Avatar
    Reply Cathy February 24, 2017 at 9:16 am

    This soup looks lovely! That broth must have wonderful flavours along with the seafood!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 24, 2017 at 11:30 am

      Hi Kathy, thank you. The broth was stupendous, so infused with all the flavors, mirepoix, shrimp shells, spices. Can just smell itr know, making me hungry!
      Have a great weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Flavour and Savour February 24, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Love your childhood story! I grew up with older brothers and like you, I was considered to be a nuisance. I’ve also found adding the shrimp (or prawn) shells and heads to the broth makes it incredibly tasty. I used to throw them away until I discovered this! Great recipe. I’m sure I could substitute local fish that I have here, like cod. Thanks!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 24, 2017 at 11:28 am

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the post, I am so grateful. Yes you can substitute any fish you like, it will be equally as good. I guess like any soup the foundation is always important and not wasting things is an achievement.
      Happy Soup making!

  • Avatar
    Reply Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma February 24, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Your writing gives me a feeling of being transported to Italy. Sadly, the few times I’ve been there it was during my vegetarian phase of life and I missed out on all the meat and delicious seafood. This soup looks just delicious btw!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 24, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Thank you Puneeta, I really enjoy writing and I write from the perspective of that time and place. Well if you are eating seafood now, I would highly recommend trying this soup it is so luxurious makes me salivate every time I think of it. The great thing about Italy is there are a lot of vegetarian options, that are just so delicious. One soup in particular is the stracciatella soup made with greens and eggs.
      Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Avatar
    Reply Markus Mueller February 24, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    This takes me back to working at Amano in Halifax. We used to do a Zuppa di Pesce, and it was always one of my favorite meals to eat! Beautiful pictures! I can’t wait to try this at home.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 26, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Hi Markus, I could only imagine cooking in a restaurant, the buzz of the kitchen, the aromas, and all that chatter as orders are coming in and going out. I have always wanted to try but have not had the opportunity, maybe one day. I have to give credit to my lovely and talented wife for the pictures, she has a way of setting the mood. I can’t wait for you to try this soup and would love to hear how you made out.
      Soups on!

  • Avatar
    Reply annie@ciaochowbambina February 25, 2017 at 6:39 am

    Ahhhh! I loved your story! But in particular, the memory of you and your brother and the plastic spoon! I have a similar one where lemonade (of all things) was the star of the story! This soup is so luxurious! Thanks for sharing, Loreto!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 26, 2017 at 8:16 am

      You are very welcome Annie. It is funny you have a similar story, like minds do like things and creativity in Italian families run high. You are right the soup was luxurious, I really felt like Nicoletta and I were at a fancy fine dinning restaurant. Can’t wait to make it again and have one of our date nights!
      Have a wonderful Sunday!
      Ciao for now.

  • Avatar
    Reply Hilary from Cocoa Bean, The Vegetable February 25, 2017 at 6:47 am

    What a great story!! I love the anecdotes you so fondly describe on your blog- keep them coming! 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 26, 2017 at 8:13 am

      Hillary you are so kind, I am happy that you like the anecdotes. I write from my heart and experiences and trust what my soul wants to say. It sounds strange maybe, but it is how I do it, and you enjoy which is all that needs to be said. We will definitely keep them coming, stay tuned.
      Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Natalie Browne February 25, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I love reading the stories you tell on your blog. I grew up with an older brother, as well. When we weren’t co-conspirators in some sort of mischief, he definitely considered me as a nuisance, too, lol. This soup looks so tasty. Something we would happily eat up for dinner

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 26, 2017 at 8:09 am

      I am grateful that you enjoy the stories, it is wonderful to share memories and watch how it inspires you to your own. I hope you try this soup it is so elegant and tasty. A wonderful dish to enjoy with your family.
      Have a great week!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop February 26, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Two kitchens! Wow!!! The color of this soup is so amazing! I imagine it is just heavenly!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto February 26, 2017 at 8:03 am

      Thank you Kathy, yes two kitchens, a common thing in Canadian Italian families. The soup was so flavorful. Using great fesh ingredients and a whole lot of love produces great results. Cooking for me is an extension of my soul expression. I put a lot of heart into what I do and don’t know any other way to do it.
      Happy Sunday to you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Hector Benitez-Solivan March 15, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve been meaning to comment that I made this soup last Friday night for dinner and absolutely loved it. So flavorful and light and satisfying at the same time. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 15, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      You are very welcome Hector.
      I am so pleased that you enjoyed it. This is what makes our work so worth while, knowing recipes are being tried and enjoyed. Well done!
      Have a most wonderful week!

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