France

Bouillabaisse Traditional French Fish Stew

Bouillabaisse Traditional French Fish Stew
Traditional Fish Stew From France

Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish stew that originated in the French port city of Marseille. It is a flavourful dish that combines different types of fish and seafood with a variety of vegetables and spices. One of the defining features of bouillabaisse is its rich, saffron-infused broth.

Making the Bouillabaisse Fish Stew

To make bouillabaisse, start by sautéing onions, garlic, and fennel in olive oil. Then, add in tomatoes, fish stock, and a pinch of saffron. Once the broth has simmered for a bit, add in the fish and seafood. The types of fish and seafood used can vary, but common options include red snapper, cod, mussels, and shrimp.

It is important to note that the different types of fish and seafood should be added to the pot at different times, depending on their cooking time. For example, mussels should be added towards the end of the cooking process, as they cook quickly.

Served With a Side of Crusty Bread

Bouillabaisse is typically served with a side of crusty bread, which can be used to soak up the flavourful broth. It is a perfect dish to serve for a special occasion or a dinner party, as it is both impressive and delicious.

Bouillabaisse Fish Stew
A Classic Flavourful and Hearty Fish Dish

In summary, bouillabaisse is a classic fish dish that is both flavorful and hearty. Its rich broth, combined with a variety of fish and seafood, makes it a perfect option for seafood lovers or anyone looking for a hearty and satisfying meal.

How to Make the Bouillabaisse Fish Stew
Ingredients:

1 leek, green top left whole, white finely sliced                                                                             Small bunch fresh thyme                                                                                                               Bunch parsley, stalks whole, leaves roughly chopped                                                                        2 strips of orange peel                                                                                                                              1 mild red chilli                                                                                                                                          4 tbsp olive oil                                                                                                                                            2 onions, chopped                                                                                                                                      1 leek                                                                                                                                                            1 fennel, fronds picked and reserved, fennel chopped                                                                          4 garlic cloves, minced                                                                                                                              1 tbsp tomato purée                                                                                                                                  1 star anise                                                                                                                                                  2 tbsp Pernod, optional, if you have it                                                                                                    4 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped                                                                                                                 large pinch (⅓ tsp) saffron strands                                                                                                      1 ½l fish stock                                                                                                                                        100g potato, one peeled piece                                                                                                            1kg of filleted mixed Mediterranean fish, each fillet cut into large chunks. (We used a mix of      red and grey mullet, monkfish, John Dory and gurnard)                                                                   300g mussels, optional

For the rouille:

2 garlic cloves                                                                                                                                              1 small chunk of red chilli (optional)                                                                                                           Small pinch saffron                                                                                                                                  1 piece of potato, cooked in the broth, (see above)                                                                            1 egg yolk                                                                                                                                                    100ml olive oil                                                                                                                                              1 tbsp lemon juice

For the croutons:

½ baguette, thinly sliced                                                                                                                            1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

STEP 1

To make the croutons heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Lay the slices of bread on a flat baking tray in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 mins until golden and crisp. Set aside – can be made a day ahead and kept in an airtight container.

STEP 2

Use a layer of the green part of the leek to wrap around and make a herb bundle with the thyme, bay, parsley stalks, orange peel and chilli. Tie everything together with kitchen string and set aside.

STEP 3

Heat the oil in a very large casserole dish or stock pot and throw in the onion, sliced leek and fennel and cook for about 10 mins until softened. Stir through the garlic and cook for 2 mins more, then add the herb bundle, tomato purée, star anise, Pernod if using, chopped tomatoes and saffron. Simmer and stir for a minute or two then pour over the fish stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, then add the piece of potato. Bubble everything gently for 30 mins until you have a thin tomatoey soup. When that piece of potato is on the brink of collapse, fish it out and set aside to make the rouille.

STEP 4

While the broth is simmering make the rouille by crushing the garlic, chilli and saffron with a pinch of salt in a mortar with a pestle. Mash in the cooked potato to make a sticky paste then whisk in the egg yolk and, very gradually, the olive oil until you make a mayonnaise-like sauce. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside.

STEP 5

Once the chunky tomato broth has cooked you have two options: for a rustic bouillabaisse, simply poach your fish in it along with the mussels, if you’re using (just until they open) and serve. For a refined version, remove the herb bundle and star anise. Using a handheld or table-top blender, blitz the soup until smooth. Pass the soup through a sieve into a large, clean pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Starting with the densest fish, add the chunks to the broth and cook for 1 min before adding the next type. With the fish we used, the order was: monkfish, John Dory, grey mullet, snapper. When all the fish is in, scatter over the mussels, if using, and simmer everything for about 5 mins until just cooked and the mussels have opened.

STEP 6

Use a slotted spoon to carefully scoop the fish and mussels out onto a warmed serving platter, moisten with just a little broth and scatter over the chopped parsley. Bring everything to the table. Some people eat it as two courses, serving the broth with croutons and rouille first, and then the fish spooned into the same bowl. Others simply serve it as a fish stew. Whichever way you choose the rouille is there to be stirred into the broth to thicken and give it a kick.

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