Maltese Fish Soup (Aljotta) SERVES 6
Malta is - or was - a devoutly Catholic country, and this soup was very popular during Lent, when one could not eat meat. Using the whole fish—head and tail included—will add flavor to the soup, and is also a reflection of the frugal Maltese housewife! I have seen several recipes on line that omit one important thing - the rice which was added to turn the soup into a whole meal.
800g small fish (traditionally rock fish, substitutes include halibut, flounder and snapper) cleaned and cut into 4 pieces
8 cups water (and a fish stock cube if available)
pepper & salt
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
mint, fresh if available
2 tablespoons oil
2 lemons (one for juice one for decoration)
100 gms. white rice
Use a pot large enough to add enough water to cover the mixture
chop the onion and garlic and fry in the oil until soft.
Chop tomatoes and add to the onions.
Add the herbs and enough water (with or without fish stock cube) to make the soup
Wait until the mixture boils and then add the fish.
Cook slowly until the fish is cooked.
Take fish from pot with a slotted spoon, allow to cool a bit, and remove head, tail, skin, and bones.
Strain the remaining mixture
Put the strained liquid back on the stove and add the rice.
Cook until the rice is soft.
Put the fish pieces back
Add a squeeze of lemon and serve hot with lemon wedges and parsley as garnish