Caldo de Pescado (or Mexican Fish Soup) is quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. Made in a rich broth and low in fat, it’s hard not to love a big bowl of this comforting soup.
The Hubs and I had 3 days to kill. We couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that!
We jumped on the internet looking at last-minute deals. Unfortunately, nothing was within our price range.
Somehow, Ensenada sounded just right. It’s close to the border, relatively inexpensive, and absolutely beautiful.
Ensenada is a quiet fishing town in Baja California Norte, Mexico.
Cruise ships arrive there every few days and we can drive there rather than become stowaways.
Many of the vendors even speak English and accept American dollars.
From our visit, I was inspired to make Mexican Fish Soup, or Caldo de Pescado.
You might also hear this referred to as “Sopa de Pescado.” Sopa and caldo mean the same thing.
The Mercado Negro is the fish market in Ensenada and right by the marina.
Everyday, fisherman arrive with the catch of the day.
Mexican food is all about freshness, and it doesn’t get any fresher than this, my friends.
Some of these fish were still wiggling! And one even winked at me. 😉 It’s an ideal place to buy fish for my Caldo de Pescado.
All seafood you buy here is cheaper than anything in the US. Trust me, I’ve crossed compared prices many, many times.
Note: If you’re buying several items, by all means, haggle with the fishmongers.
You can usually bring them down in price.
Nothing fishy about that.
In fact, they almost expect it.
There is never any harm in asking. How do you know they will say no if you don’t ask?
FYI: I’m Mexican and a native Spanish speaker. My husband is a gringo from Buffalo, New York. He loves traveling to Mexico.
We have never had any problems in all of our travels to Baja California. We go at least twice a month to Mexico.
We also live 20 minutes away from the border. 🙂
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
On my way back to the US, I always stop here with a medium-sized ice cooler to carry my little fishy friends.
The fishmonger slices and debones the fish.
Note: you must tell the fishmonger to debone the fish, or they will give it to you whole.
Then I ask the guys at the counter for ice, and, with the Gringo at the wheel, my fish arrives safely in San Diego.
Wash the fish well, and it’s ready for Mexican Fish Soup, or Caldo de Pescado.
Or, I stick the fish immediately into the freezer.
Fish will last 3-4 months in the freezer. Wrap him up in plastic wrap and in a freezer bag. Try to remove as much air as possible.
In the refrigerator, fresh fish will 2 days at the moment.
I will freeze any day before putting the fish in the fridge.
They spoil so quickly. I simply can’t take that chance.
How to Make Caldo de Pescado (Mexican Fish Soup)
To make Mexican Fish Soup, or Caldo de Pescado, I make fresh fish broth.
Maybe it’s because I’m Mexican, but I hate to waste food.
So, I ask the fishmonger for the head and the tail. (Note: this is not like flipping a coin where it’s heads OR tails. It’s both for the broth.).
With this, I make the broth.
Stick the head and tail in a large pot and add plenty of water, salt, garlic, and onion. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, I add 3 tomatoes to a blender along with a garlic, onion, and 1 chipotle.
This Mexican Fish Soup recipe is not spicy. It’s “nice-y.”
The chipotle is only there for flavor not for heat. It will add a smokey flavor to the soup.
If it sounds too spicy for you and your family, omit the chipotle.
Blend until smooth then set aside.
Some people will strain this. I don’t. If you strain it, it will have a finer texture.
It’s totally up to you, your tastebuds, and how you’d like your Mexican Fish Soup recipe taste.
You can even do this ahead of time and use it when you’re ready.
I have several tomato sauce bags in the freezer. I have a bad tendency to overbuy tomatoes.
Right before they go bad, I make tomato sauce and freeze them. Then take them out when I need them.
I’m using Cabrilla for this Caldo de Pescado recipe.
It’s a type of grouper that is found in the Sea of Cortez and Baja California, but you can also use sea bass, swordfish or red snapper.
The Cabrilla will cook in only a few minutes.
Be sure to add the fish at the very end so it can maintain its texture.
Some people will add a whole slice of fish (like a swordfish steak).
If you do, it will take longer to cook. So, adjust accordingly.
You can also use any white fish like sea bass, cod, haddock, halibut.
Just remember that the thicker the fish, the longer it will take to cook.
Tilapia is ok to use too, but it will cook faster because it’s usually very thin.
Now this is just personal taste, but I love to add a few slices of chile de árbol to my Mexican Fish Soup, or Caldo de Pescado.
It adds a great kick (even though fish don’t have legs), but this is only if you like it hot! With or without it, it’s a hearty and comforting soup.
It’s what home cooking is all about. Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!
- To Make Fish Broth:
- Fish head, tail, and bones of 1 fish
- ½ onion
- 1 garlic clove
- Salt and pepper
- 10 cups Water
- For Fish Soup:
- 3 tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 10 cups Fish Broth (or 10 cups water + 2 seafood bouillons)
- 1 large russet potato, cubed
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 fish (sea bass, red snapper, or swordfish), cut into 1-inch pieces
- Sliced chile de árbol (optional)
- Green onions, sliced (optional)
- Lime wedges (optional)
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
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