Action Alert!

Catholic Recipe: Waterzoei


  • 2 pounds fish
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves
  • white pepper
  • salt
  • wine and water
  • 1 lemon
  • sprig of parsley
  • thyme


Prep Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:11+

Origin: Netherlands


Food Categories (3)


Feasts (2)

Also Called: Fish Soup; Waterzootje

In the Netherlands is eaten the Worstebrod that looks like a plain loaf of bread, but the inside is filled with sausage meat, the last eaten before Lent. In Belgium Waterzoei, essentially a Flemish dish, is popular on this day as well as throughout Lent. The recipe is flexible and can be adapted to one's personal taste.


The fish used in Waterzoei (it is called Waterzootje in Dutch) is traditionally carp, eel, tench, roach, perch, or barbel but any combination may be used. Cut off the heads and tails of your fish and fry them lightly in butter, adding the minced carrot and onion, the herbs and the spices. Add 1/3 water and 2/3 dry white wine to generously cover. Let this bouillon simmer for half an hour, then add your fish, cut in 2-inch lengths, and cook quickly for another twenty minutes or until the fish is done. Just before serving add a peeled lemon, cut into thin slices and with the seeds removed. The soup is served with thin slices of brown bread spread with butter. Our informant adds, "For some tastes, the heads and tails should be removed before serving the dish" — with which we would agree heartily.

Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951