Saturday, September 06, 2008

France. Bouillabaisse.

Fantastical stories seek to explaine the origin of this Medditerranean specialty.
One strory says that Venus used it to make her husband Vulcano sleepy, another that it was an abbess who devised the recipe as a Friday meal and yet another that a Bordeaux man by the name Baysee was its inventor. The truth is simple: Bouillabaisse is formed from the words for boil bouillir and waste baisse. It became the name for the soup the fishermen cooked from the remains of their catch. Above all, they used the rock fish of the Mediterranean coast which had gone into their nets, such as the scorpion fish, conger eel, angler fish, sea bream, St. Peter's fish and whiting. These used to be the cheapest fish, although one or two other fish might also be added if no buyer could be found. Once the stew was ready, the fish and shellfish were pilled up on a platter and the soup stock poured into a bowl on the plates. Proof of its humble orogins is also the slice of bread which is put into each plate to cover it.


  • 3 kg fresh fish from the mediterranean scorpion fish, conger eel, gurnard, St. Peter's fish, angler fish, sea bream, whiting and squid.
  • 2 large crawfish
  • 2 large onions
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 4 garlick cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fennel
  • 1 sprig savory ot thyme
  • 1 Tbs chopped parsley
  • 1 strip orange peel
  • 1 g of saffron strands
  • salt and pepper
  • slices of French bread

Prepare and rinse the fish and crawfish for cooking (cut the larger fish into portions). Cleen and peel leeks and onions.Cut them into small pieces and fry with garlick and half the olive oil in a large saucepan (do not brown it). Remove skins from the tomatoes and dice them. Add tomatoes, herbs and seasoning to the onion's mixture. Cook 10 min. First add crawfish and then the fish with the firmer flesh on to the vegetables. Season and pour over it the remaining olive oil. Add boiling water untill the fish is covered. Cook 10 minutes. Add the softer fish and boil vigorously for no more than 10 min. Arrange the fish and the crawfish on a warmed platter. Place a slice of bread in each plate and por the soup over it.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

The recipe looks very promissing from the photo altough i'm not sure about all that fish. I'll give it a try to see what's what. Thanks for posting