Recipe: Service for 8
(any 4 or more types of fish)
1 large Sea Robin cleaned and gutted and cut into
chunks (for soup base)
Rockfish (striped bass fillet)
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
1 egg yolk
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of olive oil
10 pistils of saffron
salt and Cayenne pepper
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
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.
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 Provenšal 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."