Russian Salmon Soup (Ukha)

  • Serves

    serves 6


Salmon has been a pillar of Russian cuisine for centuries. In lean times, all parts of the fish went into the soup, say Glenn R. Mack and Asele Surina in their book Food Culture in Russia and Central Asia (Greenwood, 2005). But in "more prosperous times they were strained out to make a clear broth". This recipe is based on one in Please to the Table by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman (Workman, 1990).

Find this recipe in our cookbook, SAVEUR: Soups and Stews


  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small carrots (1 chopped, 3 thinly sliced)
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 sprigs dill
  • 2 leeks (white parts only), thickly sliced crosswise and washed
  • 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1⁄2 cups white wine
  • 1 lb. fish bones, such as snapper, rinsed
  • 1 salmon head (about 1 lb.), gills removed
  • 3 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄4" chunks
  • 1 lb. skinless boneless salmon filet, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal


Step 1

Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped carrots, peppercorns, parsley, dill, leeks, celery, bay leaves, and pepper flakes and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add 6 cups water, wine, snapper bones, and salmon head and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, skimming off any froth that rises to the surface, for 35 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard the solids.

Step 2

Wipe out the pot and add the broth along with the remaining carrots and potatoes. Bring to a boil, covered, over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 25 minutes.

Step 3

Add salmon to soup; simmer until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and season generously with salt and pepper. Divide soup between bowls; garnish with the scallions.

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