Mt. Athos Fish Soup

This recipe is adapted from a lovely book called the Cooking of Mt. Athos, by Father Epifanios of Mylopotamos (Synchronoi Orizontes Publishers, 2008)

8 servings
  • 1 kilo (2 lbs.) rock fish, such as scorpion fish and grouper
  • Salt
  • 4 potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 4-6 stalks wild Greek celery
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) extra virgin northern Greek olive oil
  • 1 cup fine orzo
  • 3 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 bunch dill, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 scant tsp. cumin
  • Β½ tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Wash, scale and gut the fish, but leave it whole. Lightly salt the fish and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use. Peel the potatoes and carrots and cut into 2-3 cm (1-1ΒΌ-inch) chunks. Finely chop the celery. Place the vegetables on the bottom of a large pot. Place the fish on top. Pour in enough water to cover by 10 cm(4-inches). Add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer until the fish and vegetables are cooked.

Carefully strain the soup, reserving the broth and fish and vegetables separately. Pour the broth back into the pot and bring to a boil. Add the orzo, tomato paste, dill, parsley, cumin, allspice, and vinegar. The orzo needs about 12 to 15 minutes to reach desired texture.

Add the fish and vegetables back to the pot. Pour in the lemon juice. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Serve immediately.

This rich local soup can only be fully appreciated with a fresh local white such as Assyrtico, Roditis or Athiri.

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