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Aljotta – Maltese Fish Soup

Aljotta is a hearty, spicy fish soup that can be taken as a light meal, starter or a main course depending on portion size. This soup calls for the whole fish – head and tail included – in order to develop the best flavour possible. Because eating meat during Lent was not permitted, Aljotta was very popular during Lent.

Aljotta - Maltese Fish Soup
Aljotta is a hearty, spicy fish soup that can be taken as a light meal, starter or a main course depending on portion size. This soup calls for the whole fish - head and tail included - in order to develop the best flavour possible.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh mint
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 whole small fish, about 800 grams (traditionally rock fish, substitutes can include flounder or snapper), cleaned and cut into 4 pieces
  • 100 g rice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 lemons (one for juice, one for garnish)
  • fresh parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and golden.
  2. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, mint, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the fish. Reduce the heat and simmer until the fish meat is white and soft.
  3. Remove the fish from the soup, allow it to cool until you can handle it, then remove the head, tail, skin, and bones.
  4. Strain the soup broth and return it to the pot.
  5. Cook the rice in the soup broth by bringing it to a boil and cooking until the rice is tender. Return fish meat back to the pot. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.
  6. Serve hot with lemon wedges and parsley as garnish.

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