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BOUILLABAISSE
  |  First Published: July 2010



Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse originated from what was once a little fishing town in the south of France, Marseille. This recipe was created by its local fishing vendors to use up all the left over scraps of seafood that couldn’t be sold.

The result is this delicious seafood soup that has endured through the centuries and changed very little.

Ingredients

500g green prawns

12 mussels

250g scallops

1kg fish fillets

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 onion, chopped

400g tin diced tomatoes

2L fish stock (recipe follows)

Pinch of saffron threads

1 bay leaf

1 bouquet garni

1 strip of orange peel

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

Steps

(1) Peel and de-vein the prawns. Scrub the mussels with a stiff brush and pull out the beard (the hairy bit). Cut the fish fillets into bite sized pieces. Refrigerate the seafood until ready to use.

(2) Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large heavy based pan. Sauté the thinly sliced fennel and chopped onion for about five minutes until the vegetables are softened. Add the tinned tomatoes to the pan and continue to cook for a further three minutes. Stir the fish stock, saffron, bay leaf, bouquet garni and orange peel into the tomato mixture. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for ten minutes.

(3) Add the scallops, prawns, mussels and fish to the pot, continuing to simmer until the mussels open and the fish pieces are just undercooked (the fish will continue to cook in the bouillabaisse liquid). Discard any unopened mussels, the bay leaf, bouquet garni and orange peel.

(4) When ready to serve, ladle the Bouillabaisse in serving bowls, sprinkle generously with chopped parsley and Rouille toasts.

Rouille

The Rouille can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a day or two until you are ready to use.

To serve, it can be placed in a separate bowl or spread onto a toasted baguette and placed on top of the Bouillabaisse.

Ingredients

1 small red capsicum

1 small red chilli

1 slice white bread, crust removed

1-2 cloves garlic

1 egg yolk

1/3 cup olive oil

Steps

(1) Cut the red capsicum into large pieces and remove any seeds. Slice the chilli in half and remove the seeds. Place the capsicum pieces and the chilli under a hot grill, skin side up, until the skin blisters and blackens. Now place both the capsicum and the chilli into a plastic bag, seal the bag and allow them to cool. This process makes them a lot easier to peel, and when they are cool enough to handle, peel off the charred skin.

(2) Soak the slice of bread in a few tablespoons of water. Allow to soak for a minute or two and then squeeze the excess water from the bread.

(3) Process the capsicum, chilli, bread, garlic and egg yolk in a food processor until smooth. With the motor of the food processor running, add the olive oil in a thin steady stream. The capsicum mixture in the food processor will emulsify (thicken). Pop the Rouille, covered, into the fridge until ready to use.

Fish Stock

Making fish stock is very easy but it does benefit from following a few golden rules.

You will need to use a large heavy based pot. Discard any eyes and gills from the fish trimmings and carcasses. To remover any blood from the bones, roughly chop the bones and soak in cold slightly salted water for about ten minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Ingredients

1kg fish trimmings and bones

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 leek, washed and sliced

1 bouquet garni

1 tbsp black peppercorns

2L water

Steps

(1) Add all the ingredients for the stock to the pot and slowly bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that appears on the surface of the stock with a spoon or ladle. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes. You will need to skim regularly during this time.

(2) At the end of the cooking time, pour the stock carefully through a very fine sieve that has been placed over a bowl. A handy tip is to use a clean unused Chux or paper towel to line the sieve. To keep your stock clear, do not press on the fish bones when sieving.

(3) Allow the stock to cool and then it can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for longer.

The seafood in this recipe was supplied by Princess Charlotte Seafoods ph (07) 3256 9175.

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