5 - 6 pounds assorted fish - see below - or try a medly of frozen fish from your local market
2/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
2 - 3 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (we don't take out the seeds - ed.) or small tin Italian plum tomatoes.
1/2 cup dry white wine
small piece dried hot chill pepper (peperoncino) or pinch of hot pepper
slices of fried bread
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large pan, stew pot.
IN the original recipe the following fish are used: dogfish, eel, grey mullet, skate, sea bass, gurnard, sea scorpion, sea bream, baby squid, or cuttlefish, octopus, crab, and crayfish (crawfish).
CLEAN the fish, wash them in plenty of salted water and pat dry. Cut off their heads. Cut the larger fish into pieces, and the crayfish tail into small pieces; split the body of the crayfish in half.
THE FISH STOCK: PUT the fish heads in a pan with a little salt and water to cover; bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain and set aside.
IN the meantime, heat the olive oil in a very large pan and fry the garlic, onion and parsley. When they begin to change color add the tomatoes and stir well; then pour in the wine and cook until reduced. Stir in a good 1/2 cup of the hot fish stock, the baby squid or cuttlefish (roughly chopped) and the octopus (cut into strips). Season to taste with salt and chili. Let these cook for 20 minutes, then add the rest of the firmer fish, followed by the cray fish 5 minutes later. Simmer very gently for 15 minutes, then gradually add the remaining fish. Add another cupful of the fish stock, cover the pan and simmer very gently for a further 15 minutes, or until all the fish are tender. check seasoning.
PUT a slice of crisply fried bread in the bottom of each soup bowl (traditionally, ships' biscuits were used). Pour over the fish and stock, and serve at once.