A dish fit for a king or a fisherman. Bouillabaise with a rouille, This is a dish that is said to have originated in Marseille. Fish stew to you and me. So spurred on by the need to have something tasty to eat that is easy-peasy and smells and tastes delicious, I checked out last week’s fish stew recipe from Italy, in the book at the wonderful fish shop – Bickerstaff in Newhaven.
I had even boiled the cod’s head after last weeks purchase and had bags of frozen stock and some of their wonderful local scallops in the freezer.
The easiest way to try to cook something new is to watch someone do it on youtube. Jamie Oliver made it simple like a big veggie stew with some fish added. Gordon Ramsay was doing a sort of double act with Janet Street Porter and they offered a few more tips. I loved Janet’s no nonsense approach. “stick the cooked vegetables in a blender”.
However the chef from a famous restaurant in Cannes got my vote. His boullaibase looked wonderful and he made it all look so simple and served it in the traditional way. He also included a gunard cooked whole, but don’t worry, any three different kinds of fish will do.
I hadn’t got half the fish suggested, so just went through the freezer and found a lovely piece of cod, a salmon fillet, several scallops, something fishy but nameless and a cuttlefish. De-frosted everything to go with some mussels and a handful of clams I bought yesterday (I don’t think they can be frozen) then mixed and matched the recipes a bit.
Basically fishermen the world over must have just used whatever they had in their catch.
Ann’s bouillabaise with rouille the really easy way.
1. Wash three kinds of fish (see list above) chop or slice two or three corms of garlic, fry gently in large very deep frying pan, (or saucepan if necessary) whatever you do, do not burn them.
Add the fish stock, chopped carrot and courgette, a generous glass of white wine and half a tin of tomatoes, some chunky pieces of potato, a few pieces of saffron, a generous pinch of Herbs of Provence, some salt and pepper, a bay leaf or two.
Bring to boil then turn heat down low and simmer gently for approx 20 minutes. Remove the pieces of potato and push the veggies through a sieve or blend them if desired and put back into the liquid, Taste and adjust seasoning. (or check out the lovely guy from Cannes)
2. Turn up heat again and then drop in bigger pieces of fish, the cuttlefish scored into a pattern of squares and the scallops. After about 15 minutes or so the fish should be cooked, best check one of the bigger bits of cod to see if it is white throughout
Now add the clams and continue to cook for 3 or 4 minutes, then the mussels for a further three or four minutes. All the mussels should have opened by then. If any have not, discard them. Lastly drop in the potatoes just to warm through again, sprinkle the whole thing with fresh parsley, stir a couple of times.
3 While the stew has been simmering take a bowl and put in two or three thin slices of garlic, a fresh egg yolk and gently drip some olive oil on to it, stirring all the time. When thickened, place into small pots, one pot is served with each plate of bouillabaise. It is called rouille and you stir it into your ‘stew’ just before eating. This, and some grated cheese for each person to go on top of the finished dish.
5. When all the fish is ready, take off heat. Scoop out the pieces of fish, clams, mussels etc and arrange on a hot serving plate, (fillet any whole fish that have been used) add the potatoes to look attractive.
6. Pour the remaining liquor (soup) into another large soup serving dish. Place french bread from the oven on the table.
Serving it should be a drama after all that effort!
7. Place a portion of mixed fish from the hot serving plate into each soup dish, add a generous cup of the fish/veg liquid from the big soup dish over each portion.
8 Give each person a little pot of the rouille and another of grated cheese.
9. Let them serve themselves the warm french bread.
10. Pour the wine
Optional extra’s, light a candle of two, play a few sea shanties low on youtube, or some romantic french songs, why not?
Well that is roughly right – although I am not usually a cookie person. Next time I would leave out the salmon, not quite the right combination. White fish is best. Was going to take a pic of the finished product, but forgot, by which time three of us had all eaten the lot!
Oh and three cheers for these lovely sunsets.