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REC's: Soupe de Poissons Provencale, Meiterranean Fish Stew, Bouillabaise....

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Joined: Dec 14, 2005


Posted to Thread #2497 at 12:25 am on Jul 1, 2006

I love this fish soup in summer. I often serve it followed by Tuna Marseilles style. I'll post the menu in the new menu section. This is Julia Child's version, and with some tweaks it can be a main course stew or full-on bouillabaise

Serve 6-8

1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups sliced onions and/or leeks
8 large garlic cloves, unpeeled, chopped
3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes
Seasonings: 1/2 tsp. thyme, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 3 pinches saffron threads, and a 3- by 1-inch piece of dried orange peel
2 quarts liquid: fish stock (below) or water plus bottled clam juice or chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 2-1/2 lbs. lean fish cut into 2-inch chunks, such as cod, hake, sea bass. or snapper, whatever is fresh and not too expensive.

French bread croutes (thin slices of baguette dried out in a 325* oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes)
Rouille (red garlic sauce) below
Chopped Parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a kettle, add the onions and saute 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender but not brown. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes and seasonings and simmer 3 to 4 minutes, then pout in the liquid. Salt lightly to taste and boil slowly, loosely covered, for 45 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning

Add the fish and simmer until it is barely cooked through. Remove from heat, and remove the orange peel. Puree in a blender, then pass the puree through a food mill. (Can be made a day or two ahead.)

Serve with croutes, rouilles, cheese and parsley. For the uninitiated, I make a platter of croutes topped with sauce, cheese and parsley to be passed at the table and dunked into the soup.

for about 2 quarts. (Ask you fish merchant to save you bones and heads and make a big batch of this to freeze.)

2 or more fresh fish frames (the head and bones of a fish, minus the gills) or several fish heads.
2 to 3 quarts lightly salted water.

Wash the fish pieces and chop them up if large. Cover with water in a kettle and bring to a boil. Skim off scum for the few minutes it continues to rise; cover loosely and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain.

Refrigerate uncovered; cover when cold. Can be kept refrigerated for a day or two, or may be frozen.

ROUILLE ("rust," red garlic sauce)

6 cloves garlic
1 4-oz jar pimentos, drained
1 fresh small hot red chile, chopped (or Tabasco to taste)
18 large leaves of fresh basil
3 egg yolks
3 Tbs. soup or milk
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup olive oil

By hand: Mash the garlic with salt in a mortar with a pestle until smooth, then pound in the rest of the ingredients one by one, switching to a whisk for the oil.

Or, put the garlic through a garlic press into a small bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mash with the back of a spoon until a smooth puree. Scrape it into a processor with everything but the oil. Process until finely chopped, the add the oil with the machine running.

For safety's sake, you can whisk the egg yolks with the liquid in a double boiler just until thickened. Let them cool before adding to the rest of the ingredients.


For a main course, make the soup base as above but strain it before adding the fish. Use a selection of lean fish cut into large chunks; halibut and monkfish are nice in addition to those listed above. Add them to the strained soup and poach just until done. Serve in large soup plates with croutes, rouille, cheese and parsley, as above. You may want to make the croutes larger.


Step 1: If anyone insists that you can't make a true bouillabaise outside of France, get all excited, thank them for the invitaition and ask them when the plane leaves. In the meantime:

Make a double recipe of the soup base and strain it, as above. Have a variety of fish, whole (with gills removed and spiny fins trimmed) or in large steaks, along with scrubbed mussels and sliced potatoes, if you want to use them. Add first the potatoes, and largest pieces of fish, followed by smaller pieces added in succession, keeping the soup at a slow boil. Finish with the mussels. Remove all the fish to a platter. Pour the soup into a turreen. Serve with croutes and rouille (no cheese).

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