A Norwegian author's recipe from Napoli in the 1960's

This is my friend Karin’s favorite fish soup. The recipe is from a collection of essays from Jens Bjørneboe, a famous Norwegian author. Bjørneboe lived by Napoli at Ischia in the 60’s. The soup is a fantastic glimt into the author’s life by the mediterranean sea.

young fisherboy at the harbour in Palermo annasfoodstories
Ung fiskegutt med dagens fangst på havna i Palermo.

This is how Bjorneboe describes how to make the soup: You go to the fish store early in the morning and pick the freshest fish that goes together in a soup. All kinds of fish are good.

freshfish annasfoodstories
Fresh fish at “Pescheria Tagliavia” in Palermo. A fish store going back to 1870.

You buy some shrimps, octopus, mussels and whatever you like. Then you go home with your seafood, clean it and make it ready for the cooking later. You can make this soup just as much in Norway as at Ischia. He recommends it warmly and promise that this soup can comfort any sorrow in life. But, you must have large amounts of garlic!

fresh red fish at the market annasfoodstories
Red mullet, mediterranean fresh fish.

You need:

  • seafood, fish, mussels, octopus ( 150 – 200 g pr person)
  • olive oil, a lagre amount
  • garlic, an huge amount
  • parsley, many bunches
  • sage, 1 bunch
  • basil, 1 bunch
  • many tomatoes
  • a bottle of white wine, or two

This is how you make Bjorneboes fish soup:

  • Heat olive oil and a huge amount of garlic in a pan.
  • Add lots of parsley, some sage, basil and other herbs that goes well in a fish soup.
  • Add tomatoes and let simmer for a long time.
  • Add the fish and all the seafood.
  • Pour in white wine enough to cover.
  • Let this cook as long as it takes. Add some more wine if needed.
  • When you serve the soup make sure that everyone get a piece of fish and an equal part of whatever seafood you have added to the soup.
fisherman in Palermo annasfoodstories
Fishermen cleaning their nets in the harbor in Palermo.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.