Bouillabaisse
(fish soup)

Bouillabaisse is probably the most famous traditional recipe from Provence. A hearty fish soup originating from Marseille.

Traditionally in Marseille, bouillabaise is rarely made for less than 10 people, the more people who share the meal the more different kinds of seafood are used, resulting in a better Bouillabaise.

Normally served with 'Rouille' a spicy mayonnaise made with olive oil, garlic, chilli and stale bread.

Method

Take 2 large cloves of garlic and grind to a paste in a mortar
Take a piece of stale bread, soak it in water and squeeze the water out until you are left with a large walnut sized ball of bread.
Finely chop 2 red chillies and add the chillies and the ball of bread to the mortar and pound until smooth.
Whisk in the olive oil until the mixture looks like smooth red mayonnaise.

The name 'Bouillabaisse' comes from the method in which the soup is cooked. The ingredients are not added all at once The soup is first boiled (bouillir) then the fish is added one by one lowering the heat (abaisser) each time.

Bouillabaisse

Serves:- 6-8, Preparation time:- 10 mins,(not including preparing the seafood) Cooking time:- 30 mins

Ingredients

* 2.25kg or 5lb of mixed fish. whatever you like best. I use monkfish, john dory and sea bass,
* 15 large tiger prawns
* 2lb of mussels
* 2 large onions
* 6 cloves of garlic
* 2 large leek
* 5 large ripe tomatoes
* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
* 1 sprig of thyme, 1 sprig of fennel
* 2 sachets of saffron
* 1 tablespoon of grated orange rind * salt and pepper

Method

* prepare your fish, best to use fillets for ease

* prepare prawns by taking the tails and skin off and slicing down the back of each prawn and removing the intestinal tract

* while bringing 2.5 or 4 pints of water to the boil

* use a large pan to fry of the onion, leeks, garlic and tomatoes in the olive oil for 5 mins

* add the thyme, fennel and orange peel, mix well and cook for another 5 mins

* add the 'really' boiling water to the vegetable mixture and whisk briskly for 1-2 mins

* the sauce should start to thicken

* now add the equally sized pieces of fish

* season with the salt and pepper and add the saffron

* simmer for 10 mins then add the prawns and mussels for a further 3-5 mins or until mussels open and prawns turn pink

* take out the fish with a slotted spoon and arrange on a warm serving platter

* serve the soup in a tureen

* traditionally bouillabaisse is served with 'Rouille' and some warm french bread.

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