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Salmon, cucumber and fennel soup

Serves 4

Salmon bones aren't generally used for stocks in the kitchen, as they tend to be a bit oily and overpowering. But as you know, I hate wasting any food – even fish bones!

Once the bones have been blanched to get rid of the oils and their slight bitterness, they make a perfectly good soup or stock which can be used for the pie (see first recipe) as well.

For the stock

About 800g-1kg salmon bones, washed
1 leek, peeled, roughly chopped and washed
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
½bulb of fennel
1tsp fennel seeds
10 white peppercorns
1 bayleaf

For the soup

40g butter
30g flour
100ml white wine
½bulb of fennel
150g salmon fillet
4-5cm cucumber, halved lengthways and seeds scooped out
1tbsp chopped fennel
1tbsp double cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Put all of the ingredients for the stock in a saucepan and add about 1.5 litres of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming every so often, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean saucepan and continue to simmer.

Poach the salmon fillet in the stock for about 4-5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and leave to cool.

Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the flour and cook on a low heat, stirring continuously for about 30 seconds.

Whisk the flour mixture into the simmering stock, season and continue to simmer gently for about 30 minutes. The soup should have thickened up nicely now and have a good flavour; if not continue simmering until it has.

Cut the cucumber into cm dice, flake the salmon and add to the soup with the cucumber, chopped fennel and cream, bring back to a simmer and re-season if necessary.