“La Bouillabaisse” is a traditional French dish from the city of Marseille. It is a star recipe that people travel to from all over the world to enjoy.
This special dish is traditionally from the fishermen of the port of Marseille who used to make a boiled broth made of little rock fish that restaurants and other people didn’t want to buy because they were small and not well known.
So, the fishermen decided to cook these little rock fish adding some vegetables including garlic and fennel, the main ingredient of the recipe (good thing we can find fennel here in the Philippines!).
La bouillabaisse is a family dish. Warm and hearty; it’s a primed dish.
First, we will make the soup/broth. The broth is made by cooking the fish and vegetables – very tasty and very rich in flavors.
We don’t have the traditional French rock fish from the Mediterranean Sea (rascasse, loup Murène and girelle) for bouillabaisse here in Manila, but we have other fish which are very tasty as well (lapu lapu, red mullet, tursilyo, maya maya etc.).
I replaced the potatoes with some squash which made this recipe fit in with my primed lifestyle, and also it is nice to add to the variety of the vegetables which gives extra color and an interesting taste.
– 1pc small lapu lapu red
– 2 pc tursilyo
– 2 pc red mullet
– 1 pc small maya maya
– 4 pc prawns
– 3 pc crabs
– 2 pc squid
– 1 pc fennel bulb
– 1/4 of whole squash
– 4 pc tomatoes
– 1 zucchini
– 2 pc onion
– 1 pc leek
– 1 bouquet garnie
– 1 pc whole garlic
– 2 pc fresh eggs
– 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
– olive oil
– saffron, star anis, paprika, peppercorn, salt
(1) Make sure that when you buy your fish at the market, that it is super fresh. Go early in the market. Sorry, but if you go to the market after 9:00 am all the good stuff is gone and you will get the second choice. So better wake up early to get your ingredients.
Ask your fish and seafood supplier to prepare the fish for you. He can clean it and remove the scales so you don’t have to do that at home. So at home you will just need to clean it again and filet it. Please see below pictures on how to filet a fish and to prepare your squid.
(2) Clean under fresh and clean water all your vegetables and peel your onion and your garlic.
(3) For the real bouillabaisse family-style, you don’t need to filet the fish as you cook it whole inside your soup. However, I prefer to filet it first as it is more elegant on your platter for your guests. It is also easier to eat.
You need a chopping board (the blue one if you have color-coded chopping board at home) or make sure you will clean your chopping board after as it might smell of fish for your other ingredients that you might cut.
You will need a fish knife with a very long and flexible sharp edge.
Please see pictures below as it will help you on how to filet your fish. Basically, you cut at the back of your fish and you follow the bone without cutting the meat part. When you are done on one side you do the same thing on there other side of the fish.
There is always some bone left on the middle of your fish filet so to remove it you will need a fish bone tweezer. If you don’t have one you can use a peeler to remove the bone.
When all bones are removed you can then cut your filet to portion size and place it in the fridge.
Clean your squid and prawns and also put in the fridge.
Please keep all the bone and head of the fish because it is with those items that we will do our broth.
(5) With your clean vegetables, we will start to prepare the broth and the garnish as well. Slice your onion; cut your fennel into wedges, your tomatoes into four wedges, the leek in battonets, the squash in cubes and your zucchini in triangles.
Please see below pictures to give you some idea of the cutting.
(6) Your vegetables are cut already and your fish head and bones are ready, too. In a big pot, put some olive oil on a slow fire. When your olive oil is hot enough, add your fish bone and crab. Mix it and sweat it with no coloration.
Then add your onion, tomatoes and your extra leftover from your portioned vegetables: fennel, zucchini and squash. Add your garlic and the bouquet garnie. See La Ratatouille recipe for garnie explanation.
Mix the all ingredients over a slow fire.
Add water (about 2 liters) to totally cover your fish bones and vegetables. Add saffron, star anis, paprika, salt and pepper. Then you can increase the fire until it’s boiled. Then reduce it and simmer for e45 minutes to 1 hour.
(7) We will make the sauce rouille. It’s a sauce that you can add in your bouillabaisse. In a small pot, add some squash that you have before (keep maybe 50 g only) then add 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2 pinches of paprika and 1 pinch of saffron.
Take some of the broth and put it on fire and cook the squash. When the squash is like a purée, remove it from the pot and put in a bowl and let it cool down.
Separate your egg white and yoke. In your bowl, add your 2 yokes and add your teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Start adding your olive oil slowly as you whisk the ingredients. Do so until you get a nice consistency. Add some salt if you feel like.
Place it in the fridge.
(8) When your soup is finally ready after 1 hour of cooking, mix it with a stick blender and a moulin à légumes. With this, you press all the bones and some of the meat will be passing with the jus but the bone will not.
When all your soup is passed, put in a nice flat pot but not too filled so you will have enough space for all your vegetables and fish later.
(9) We are almost there now. Make sure that your soup is on a low fire. Start to add your ingredients. Your ingredients have different cooking time so first you will add your fennel. Then after 10 minutes you will add the zucchini and the prawns. After 5 minutes add your leeks and the fish filet and the squid.
By doing this you will cook your vegetables and fish at the right cooking time and your broth will get more flavor.
When everything is cooked, turn off your soup. Remove all fish, prawns, squid and vegetables and arrange nicely on your platter. Add some spring onions and parsley for the decoration. Serve your soup in a big soup bowl and your sauce rouille on the side.
You can add some croutons to your soup but since the bread is not part of my primed lifestyle I personally prefer without.
Et voila, it’s ready to be served.
Add a spoon of your sauce rouille in your soup with the fish and vegetables.
With this fantastic dish, a nice glass of rosé will be a good pairing. For that, I choose either Le Côtés de Provence Corail 2011 Château Roquefort by Raimond de Villeneuve. The grapes are grenache and syrah. Or Le Bandol rosé 2011 Domaine Templier by Daniel Ravier. The grapes here are mourvéde, grenache, cinsault and carignan.
For more information please refer to the facebook page of Sommelier Selection.