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
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 to matoes, 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
- In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and golden.
- 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.
- Remove the fish from the soup, allow it to cool until you can handle it, then remove the head, tail, skin, and bones.
- Strain the soup broth and return it to the pot.
- 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.
- Serve hot with lemon wedges and parsley as garnish.
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