Bouillabaisse (Provençal Fish Stew)

I recently returned from a WONDERFUL trip to Barcelona, Spain (1st image); Aix en Provence, France (2nd image); and Marseille, France (3rd image above). In these two countries and three amazing cities, I experienced the best of art, food, and traveling – three of my most favorite things in the world!

Marseille is the birthplace of this popular fish stew made with several kinds of fish, shellfish, vegetables, and seasoned with Provençal herbs and spices. This recipe comes from Grand Bar des Goudes, a port restaurant on Rue Désirée-Pelleprat, in Marseille. I have yet to make this but it’s on the top of my list. I doubt it will be anywhere near as good due to the variety of fish I am able to purchase.

Ingredients: 

  • 4 kilograms of fish and shellfish: grondin (sea robin), Rascasse blanche (scorpionfish), rouget grondin (red gurnard), congre (conger), baudroie (lotte, or monkfish), Saint-Pierre (John Dory), vive (Weever), five live octopus, and 10 sea urchins
  • 1 kilogram of potatoes
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 3 onions
  • 5 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 branch of fennel
  • 8 pistils of saffron
  • 10 slices of pain de campagne (country bread)
  • salt and Cayenne pepper

Directions:
*Clean and scale the fish and wash them, if possible in sea water. Cut them into large slices, leaving the bones. Wash the octopus and cut into pieces. *Put the olive oil in a large casserole. Add the onions, cleaned and sliced; 6 cloves of garlic, crushed; the pieces of octopus, and the tomatoes peeled and quartered, without seeds. Brown at low heat, turning gently for five minutes, for the oil to take in the flavors. *Add the sliced fish, beginning with the thickest to the smallest. Cover with boiling water, and add the salt and the pepper, the fennel, the bouquet garni and the saffron. Boil at a low heat, stirring from time to time so the fish doesn’t stick to the casserole. Correct the seasoning. The bouillabaisse is cooked when the juice of the cooking is well blended with the oil and the water. (about twenty minutes). *Prepare the rouille: Remove the stem of the garlic, crush the cloves into a fine paste with a pestle in a mortar. Add the egg yolk and the saffron, then blend in the olive oil little by little to make a mayonnaise, stirring it with the pestle. *Cook the potatoes, peeled and boiled and cut into large slices, in salted water for 15 to 20 minutes. Open the sea urchins with a pair of scissors and remove the Corail with a small spoon. *Arrange the fish on a platter. Add the corail of the sea urchins into the broth and stir. *Serve the bouillon very hot with the rouille in bowls over thick slices of bread rubbed with garlic. Then serve the fish and the potatoes on a separate platter.

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