Bouillabaisse

Coq Au Vin -- Chicken Braised in Wine

 

This is a two step recipe. First you make your soup base then you cook selection to the fish before serving. It is the soup base that makes this soup so flexible.

We can't reproduce what you get in Provence --where they use the scorpion fish Rascasse-- to get that special flavor, but we do have some great options. I prefer to use Sea Robin for the base which gives a similar taste. At times if there are left over lobster carcasses that can make a great base (see below).

The classic rule of thumb for Bouillabaise is a minumum of four different fish for a minimum of eight people. In addition the classic Bouillabaise contains the essential Rascasse which gives the fish stock its specific northern Mediterranean flavor. Traditionally the fish is served as a second course.



Ingredients

Featured Recipe: Service for 8

Ingredients (any 4 or more types of fish)

Mussels
Clams
Squid
Monkfish
Porgy
1 large Sea Robin cleaned and gutted and cut into chunks (for soup base)
Rockfish (striped bass fillet)
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6 Potatoes
5 ripe tomatoes cored and cut into eighths
1 small head of Fennel with stems reserved
2 Medium White Onions
1 small head of garlic cut in half crosswise
2 tsps. Safrron threads
1/8 cup Pernod or Pastis
1 large orange peel strip
2 large sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
4 quarts water
slices of pain de campagne (country bread)
Salt and Cayenne Pepper

The Rouille

1 egg yolk
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of olive oil
10 pistils of saffron
salt and Cayenne pepper

Directions

FOR THE SOUP BASE:

In a stainless steel stockpot heat the olive oil and lightly brown the the onions, garlic and fennel stems. Increase the heat and add the Sea Robin. Continue stirring until the fish begins to fall apart (about 5-10 minutes)

Add the tomatoes, fennel, thyme, bay leaf, pernod, orange peel and saffron (crumble the saffron as you add it) then add the water and bring to a boil. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.

Let the soup cool then remove the thyme , bay leaf and orange peel strip. Pass the mixture in small batches through a food mill. Discard each time any fish scraps which do not pass. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

You now have your soup base. You can make this soup base in the morning and store it in the refrigerator till ready to use.

FOR THE FINAL BOUILLABAISSE

Fillet fish cut into large chunks (monkfish, wild striped bass, red mullet, porgy ...) . Season the fish with salt and pepper.

In a large stock pot heat some olive oil then add the fish pieces

Dice up the potatoes and fennel head (bulb) into small 1/2 inch dice. Bring the soup back to a boil and add the potatoes and fennel cook for 5 minutes

Since each fish may require a different cooking time, , it is best to cook each separate then remove them. Before serving put everything back in the pot and warm the soup up.

Note: Assorted fresh fish should be scaled, gutted, filleted and cut into two - three bite pieces: red snapper, monkfish, red mullet, striped bass, grouper. squid should be cut in rings.

Notes:

The classic rule of thumb for Bouillabaise is a minumum of four different fish for a minimum of eight people. In addition the classic Bouillabaise contains the essential Rascasse which gives the fish stock its specific northern Mediterranean flavor. Traditionally the fish is served as a second course.

The American chef and food writer Julia Child, who lived in Marseille for a year, wrote: "to me the telling flavor of bouillabaisse comes from two things: the Proven├žal soup base - garlic, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, fennel, saffron, thyme, bay, and usually a bit of dried orange peel - and, of course, the fish - lean (non-oily), firm-fleshed, soft-fleshed, gelatinous, and shellfish."

To Assemble and Serve

Arrange the chicken, bacon, pearl onions, mushrooms, in a dish. Spoon the sauce over top and garnish with the penne pasta with chives and parsley.



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