The French know for making the best of dishes from times immemorial. Bouillabaisse, however, is the biggest feather in their hat. Those of you who have tasted this delicacy or even know about it will immediately want to have this if you know how to make it. For those of you who don’t know about it, well let me tell you, Bouillabaisse is the king of the French cuisine. It is a fish stew that originated in the French town of Marseille. It has been one of the chief delicacies of France and its surrounding countries for a couple of centuries.
Bouillabaisse is a fish soup comprising of numerous kinds of cooked molluscs, fish and veggies. All the components are flavouring with different exotic spices and herbs like bay leaf, saffron, fennel, basil, garlic and orange peel.
There is a huge variety of fish that can use to make Bouillabaisse. They include scorpionfish, sea robin, European conger, turbot, sea urchins, mussels, monkfish, octopus and spider crab. Even the veggies can change according to your likes and dislikes. The standard side dish to this delicacy is Rouille, which is mayonnaise made of saffron, garlic, cayenne pepper and olive oil.
The reason behind Bouillabaisse’s unique identity is the spices and the herbs used in it, how it is serving and the local Mediterranean fish used in it. The Rouille and the stew are serving in different platters or bowls.
Being one of my favourite seafood delights, I have mentioned my recipe for Bouillabaisse bellow.
Here is a list of the essential ingredients that use if you want to prepare Bouillabaisse.
3 lbs of 3 different kinds of fresh fish fillets.
½ cup of olive oil.
1 or 2 lbs of oysters or other kinds of molluscs.
One cup of finely sliced onions.
One cup of cooked crab, shrimp or lobster meat. Rock Lobster tails can also use.
Four thinly sliced shallots.
Two cloves of garlic finely crushed.
One tomato chopped.
One sweet red pepper sliced.
Four stalks of celery finely sliced.
One teaspoon of fennel seeds. A 2-inch slice of fennel can also use.
Three sprigs of fresh thyme.
One bay leaf.
2 or 3 whole cloves.
The zest half of an orange.
½ teaspoon of powdered saffron.
Two teaspoons of salt.
¼ teaspoon of crushed black pepper.
One cup of fish broth or clam juice.
Two tablespoons of lemon juice.
Slice of French bread.
2/3 of a cup of white wine.
Ingredients for the Rouille:
The Rouille is an essential part of the Bouillabaisse. Here is a list of the ingredients you will require to make it.
1 Tablespoon of fish stock.
Two cloves of peeled garlic.
One red hot pepper.
½ teaspoon of salt.
¼ of a cup of soft white bread broken into tiny pieces.
½ a cup of olive oil.
Procedure for the Bouillabaisse:
After you put together the long list of ingredients mentioned above, you can follow the method of cooking that discussed below. The procedure for making the Rouille discussed below.
Heat approximately ¼ cup of olive oil in a large saucepan.
When the oil is hot, add the onions and the shallots.
Cook for a minute and then add the crushed garlic and the red sweet pepper according to your requirements.
Add the veggies into the saucepan and stir them into the oil until they are fully covered.
Add the remaining oil along with the thyme, bay leaf, cloves and the orange zest.
Continue cooking until the onions are soft and golden in colour.
Chop the fish fillets into 2-inch pieces.
Add those pieces along with two cups of water to the mixture in the saucepan.
Bring the mixture to boil.
decrease the temperature and let it simmer uncovered for another ten minutes.
Add the oysters and the shrimps, either whole or chopped, to the mixture.
Add the salt, pepper, saffron, clam juice, white wine and lemon juice to the mixture.
Bring it to simmer again and cook for approximately five minutes.
Just before serving the broth, taste and correct the seasoning if required.
Place a piece of crusty French bread in each bowl. Spoon your Bouillabaisse over it.
Serve the stew hot and enjoy.
Directions for making the Rouille:
Put the hot fish stock on the bottom of a blender.
Add the garlic, salt, bread and the red hot pepper and start blending.
Blend until the mixture is completely smooth.
Keeping the blender on, add the olive oil and stop immediately after the fat disappears.
While serving the Bouillabaisse, keep the Rouille in a small bowl.
Use the Rouille sparingly in your sauce as in the case of Tabasco.