Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Get Your Seafood Bouillabaisse Game Up for National Bouillabaisse Day

Bouillabaisse is a seafood soup made with various kinds of cooked fish and shellfish and vegetables, flavored with a variety of herbs and spices such as garlic, orange peel, basil, bay leaf, fennel and saffron.
Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille
The French and English form bouillabaisse comes from the Provençal Occitan word bolhabaissa, a compound that consists of the two verbs bolhir (to boil) and abaissar (to reduce heat, i.e., simmer).

There are at least three kinds of fish in a traditional bouillabaisse, typically scorpionfish, sea robin and European conger, and it can also include dorado; turbot; monkfish; mullet; or silver hake.  It also usually includes shellfish and other seafood such as sea urchins, mussels; velvet crabs; spider crab or octopus. More expensive versions may add langoustine (European lobster).

Vegetables such as leeks, onions, tomatoes, celery and potatoes are simmered together with the broth and served with the fish. The broth is traditionally served with a rouille, a mayonnaise made of olive oil, garlic, saffron and cayenne pepper on grilled slices of bread.

What makes a bouillabaisse different from other fish soups is the selection of Provençal herbs and spices in the broth; the use of bony local Mediterranean fish; the way the fish are added one at a time, in a certain order, and brought to a boil; and the method of serving.
No matter how you do it, ENJOY IT!

(click read more for the entire recipe)
1 lb fresh mussels
2 lbs firm fresh fish fillets, such as grouper or striped bass
1/3 cup olive oil
1 ½ TBS finely chopped garlic
¾ cups chopped onions
5 Roma tomatoes, peeled and sliced, or 1 cup canned Italian tomatoes
1 tsp fennel seed
Pinch saffron
1 TBS, plus ½ tsp Kosher salt
1 ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 TBS butter plus more, for the bread and plating
2 ½ cups boiling water
½ (8-oz) bottle clam juice
4 crab halves, cut in ½
1 pound unpeeled shrimp
1 loaf French bread

Wash and scrub the mussels in cold water.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large heavy pot.
Add the mussels and cover the pot.*
Steam for 6 to 8 minutes or until the mussels open.
Discard any mussels that didn't open.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
Cut the fish into 1-inch thick slices.
Heat the oil in a large pot.
Add the garlic, onions, tomatoes, fennel, saffron, salt, and pepper.
Add the mussel broth to the pot and 2 tablespoons of butter.
Add the boiling water and clam juice.
Bring to a rolling boil, add the crabs and fish, and continue to boil for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the mussels along with the shrimp, and boil for an additional 5 minutes.
Slice the French bread, butter it, and toast lightly.
Serve the bouillabaisse in large individual bowls; pile in the seafood and ladle the broth over it.
Top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of butter.
Pass the bread at the table.

*Cook's Note: If you like a spicier soup you may add a couple of whole hot peppers to the pot at the start of cooking.

1 comment:

  1. My mom worked at a resort in antigua for many yrs. shed make this for my papa an myself when we caught colds. Many memories brought back by this stew.