Posted on 7th November 2021 at 15:12
The classic Bouillabaisse, hailing from the French city of Marseilles, was traditionally made with the bony rockfish that fishermen were unable to sell to markets. Today, we can choose our own selection of fish and seafood to suit what is in season and our own preference.
There are several different ways of serving this dish – all together as a soup/stew; sieved soup or ‘with bits’; soup over a slice of crouton bread with a dollop of rouille and the seafood served separately. This recipe describes the latter option, but you can always make it simpler by omitting the bread and rouille and serving it as a soup instead.
Ingredients – feeds 4
For the bouillabaisse
1 kg mixed fish and seafood (we used cuttlefish, mixed bag, rock salmon, conger eel)
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large strip orange peel
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
Large pinch saffron
1l fish stock
Pinch cayenne pepper
Parsley to serve
Good glug olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the rouille
4 tbsp full-fat mayonnaise
1 garlic clove
Pinch saffron soaked in juice ½ lemon
4 slices baguette, about 1 ½ cm thick
For the rouille and bread
1. Mix all the rouille ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 120°C.
3. Put the bread slices on a baking tray and put in the oven for around 30 minutes or until the dries out but doesn’t go brown.
For the soup
1. Rinse and prepare the seafood – you want similar sized pieces so that they cook at roughly the same speed, roughly 2 inches.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the leeks, onion and fennel. Cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes until they are soft but not brown.
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic, orange peel, bay leaves, thyme, saffron, cayenne pepper, fish stock, salt and pepper and cook for 30 minutes to create a thin soup.
4. Poach the fish in the soup, adding the conger eel, rock salmon and cuttlefish first, followed by the mixed bag once the others were almost cooked.
5. Using a slotted spoon, remove all the seafood from the broth and place them on a serving platter. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve.
6. Moisten the fish with a small amount of broth and sprinkle liberally with parsley.
1. Place a dollop of rouille on each piece of bread (no need to spread it) and place one in each bowl.
2. Ladle the soup over the bread pieces. The rouille helps thicken the soup slightly and turn it creamy.
3. Serve the fish on a separate platter, and feel free to put pieces into the soup as you go! This is a great meal for sharing and bringing people together.
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