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SEAFOOD SOUP OF THE MEDITERRANEAN; BOUILLABAISSE, FRANCE

Fish and Shellfish

Fish and Shellfish

Tomatoes, Leek, Onion, Garlic

Tomatoes, Leek, Onion, Garlic

Egg Yolks, Olive Oil, Bread, Black Pepper, Sea Salt

Egg Yolks, Olive Oil, Bread, Black Pepper, Sea Salt

Red Chili Pepper, Saffron, Fresh Bay Leaves

Red Chili Pepper, Saffron, Fresh Bay Leaves

Ingredients

Water – 10 cups (2,365 ml)

Striped Bass Whole – 1.5 pounds (680 grams) 

Black Cod Steaks – 2 medium size, 1 pound (454 grams) 

Halibut Filet – 0.7 pound (318 grams)

Scallops – 2 large size

Shrimp – 4 medium size

Mussels – 8  

Onion – 1 large size

Leek – 1 medium size

Tomatoes – 5 medium size

Garlic – 5 large cloves

Saffron – a pinch

Fresh Bay Leaves – 3

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

Freshly Ground Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon

Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

Rouille

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – ½ cup (118 ml)

Egg Yolks – 3

Garlic – 4 cloves

Red Chili Pepper – 1 small size

Saffron – a pinch

Baguette – a piece

Black Pepper – to taste

Sea Salt – to taste

Bouillabaisse – The South of France is a favored travel destination with beautiful beaches, relaxed lifestyle and southern French cooking.  The Mediterranean coast of France has an abundant supply of fish and shellfish, used in making delicious regional specialties.  Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish stew invented in Marseille, the port city in the South of France.  The Bouillabaisse prepared in Marseille is made with a variety of Mediterranean fish and shellfish, fresh vegetables, aromatic herbs and spices.  Bouillabaisse is served with baguette slices and rouille, a traditional sauce made with egg yolks, garlic, red chili pepper and spices.  Traditionally, the fish stew is prepared with different types of fish: firm-fleshed, soft-fleshed, gelatinous fish and shellfish.  In our recipe, we use Striped Bass, a white fish with a mild flavor and an ideal texture for soups.  The Sablefish (also called Black Cod) has a buttery texture and a rich flavor.  The Halibut is a firm-textured and gelatinous fish.  The Scallops, Shrimp and Mussels add lots of flavor.  The Saffron is a traditional Mediterranean spice that enhances the flavor and aroma of any dish.  We use Safinter Saffron by Valgosa, a family-run producer of saffron and spices in Spain.  We crush a little of saffron in the mortar, soak in warm water for 20 minutes and then add to the soup.  We serve the bouillabaisse in large bowls with the rouille and baguette slices on the side.  Our Bouillabaisse has a beautiful color and an intense flavor.

Saffron in Warm Water

Saffron in Warm Water

Bouillabaisse Broth

Bouillabaisse Broth

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

France, Bouillabaisse & Rouille

France, Bouillabaisse & Rouille

Preparation Method

Step 1 – Clean the fish and the shellfish, peel and devein the shrimp, cut the whole striped bass in three pieces and set aside.  Note: Have the scales and the innards of the whole striped bass removed at the fish market.  Cut into small pieces the onion, the leek, the garlic and the tomatoes.

Step 2 – In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil, then add the onion, garlic and the leek, and sauté on medium heat for a few minutes.  Add the tomatoes and sauté until the mixture lightly thickens.  Add the striped bass, the bay leaves, the black pepper, the sea salt and the water.  Bring to a boil, cover with the lid, and then simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. 

Step 3 – Prepare the rouille: Crush the garlic and the red chili pepper (Serrano or Jalapeño) in the mortar.  Cut 1-2 thin slices of baguette and remove the crust.  In the blender, combine the garlic, chili pepper, egg yolks, saffron, black pepper, salt.  Mix the ingredients at low speed and slowly add the olive oil.  Add the baguette slices, increase to high speed and mix until the texture thickens. 

Step 4 – Crush a little of saffron in the mortar, then soak in warm water for 20 minutes to enable the saffron to release its flavor.  Toast a few slices of the baguette, then rub the bread with a garlic clove cut in half.

Step 5 – Strain the broth from the Dutch oven through a sieve.  Return the broth to the Dutch oven and add the saffron with the liquid.  Add the black cod steaks and the halibut, and simmer for eight minutes.  Add the shrimp, the scallops and the mussels, and simmer for five minutes.  Afterward, remove the fish and shellfish, and place into a large plate.

Step 6 – Pour the soup into large bowls using a fine mesh strainer.  Cut the fish into smaller pieces, then place few pieces of each fish and shellfish in each bowl.  Serve the rouille with toasted baguette slices on the side.  Appreciate the intense flavors of the traditional French Bouillabaisse.

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