Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Provençal Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse is the Provençal fish stew that originated from the port city of Marseille, the oldest city in France founded in 600 BC by the Greeks. Marseille is the second largest French city after Paris, but every French village seems to have a different way of preparing and serving Bouillabaisse, which is traditionally served with toast rounds cut from baguettes and spread with rouille. The prep time is 20 mins, cooking time is 30 mins, the stew serves 6 to 8.

Provençal Bouillabaisse

1/3 pint of olive oil
2 onions chopped
2 leeks trimmed and chopped
3 tomatoes skinned seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 sprig of fennel
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
1/3 c finely chopped Italian parsley--additional for garnish
1 strip of orange peel without pith
1 ½ lbs shell fish; crab, mussels, clams, large prawns, lobster. Discard any shellfish that don't open when cooked.
5 lbs of firm fish, like cod, sea bass, swordfish, halibut, red snapper, and a softer fish like sole so that some of the fish breaks down in the broth. Fish should be freshest possible.
4 pinches of saffron powder

3 ½ pints of boiling water
sea salt and pepper to taste

In a 8-quart dutch oven sauté the onions, leeks, chopped tomatoes and garlic over low heat for 2 to 3 mins until soft.
Stir in the fennel. thyme, bay leaf, Italian parsley and orange peel.
Add the shellfish, boiling water and sea salt and pepper.
Turn up the heat to a slow boil for about 3 mins.

Reduce the heat and add the fish. Continue cooking for 12 to 15 mins over a medium heat. The fish should be opaque and tender but still firm, once cooked adjust the seasoning. Stir in the saffron and serve with rouille and toast rounds cut from baguettes


1 small red pepper
2 garlic cloves crushed
pinch of saffron powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ozs crust less white bread
2 egg yolks
8 fl ozs olive oil

Cut the pepper in half and remove core and seeds chop into small pieces and crush to a paste with the garlic.Add the saffron, salt and pepper to taste.
Moisten the bread with a little water. Work it into the pepper and garlic.
Beat in the egg yolks and add the oil a little at a time. Beating well between each addition.As the rouille becomes thick pour the oil in a thin steady stream.
Continue beating until the rouille is thick and smooth. Makes about one cup.

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