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Bouillabaisse is a fish stew, originating from the south of France (Marseilles). I believe the story of the dish is much like that of Ciopinno. Years ago I worked at a restaurant in Zurich, called Bouillabaisse...which they were famous for. This brings back some memories, although I couldn't tell you if this recipe is truly authentic or not. I do know that traditionally the broth is served with toasted bread topped with rouille inside the bowl, and the fish and seafood are on the side. This recipe calls for topping the stew with the rouille and serving bread on the side. I think any combination of all three items would be delicious! Note that the combination of the fish and seafood doesn't really matter, basically 3 lbs of whatever your favourites are.
- 2 leeks, washed and sliced thinly
- 1 Spanish onion, halved and sliced thinly
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- black pepper, freshly ground
- 4 medium potatoes, cut into large cubes
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground fennel
- 2 slices orange peel, each about 3 inches long
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or use fresh if you have it)
- 2 teaspoons dried marjoram (or use fresh if you have it)
- 3 cups fish stock (or sub with 2 cups clam juice and 1 cup water)
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 lemon
- 1 1⁄2 lbs cod fish fillets (or other white firm fish, or combination of different types of fish)
- 1⁄2 lb mussels (or any other shellfish you prefer such as clams, or a combination of different types of shellfish)
- 1 lb uncooked shrimp (or any other shellfish you prefer)
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
- sea salt
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 1⁄4 cup fresh basil, chopped fine (or 1 tbsp dried)
- 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 loaf French bread
- Bouillabaisse: Pull out a large soup pot, heat the olive oil in it over medium heat. Add in the leeks and onions and saute for about 10 minutes, until they are soft. Once soft, add in the garlic, bay leaves, carrots and quite a few rounds of freshly ground black pepper. Leave that to saute for about another 5-10 minutes.
- Stir the potatoes into the pot along with the fennel seed, orange peel, thyme and marjoram. Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add in the stock or clam juice and water. Add in the tomatoes and squeeze in the juice from the lemon (watch no lemon pits fall in). Simmer for about 15 minutes, at which time the carrots should be tender and the potatoes cooked, but still firm.
- This is a good point to make the Rouille (and toasted bread if you are using), while the broth simmers, so skip ahead to that step if you haven't already.
- Add in the fish (not the shellfish yet), as well as the saffron and parsley and simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add the shellfish and cook until shells open up (ie with mussels and clams), and the prawns are pink and firm. Adjust the seasoning with sea salt and get ready to serve ASAP.
- Rouille: Mix together the bread crumbs, parmesan and cayenne. Add the water and blend into a paste. Stir in the basil, parsley and olive oil. Rouille should be hot and flavourful so add more hot spice if you like.
- As soon as the seafood is done, remove the bay leaves and orange peel, then ladle into warm bowls and serve with a spoonful of rouille on top and bread on the side. Alternatively, top each bowl with slices of toasted french bread topped with rouille.