Bouillabaisse represents French country style cooking at its best. Before you can appreciate or even cook bouillabaisse you have to understand the philosophy behind this dish. In the old days fisherman brought their catch to a local village daily. Those who wanted to cook a good fish soup bought three different fishes and some mussels. Then they headed to the vegetable counter to get some carrots, onions and tomatoes. The cooking method combines making a stock and making a soup without wasting anything. The gutted fishes were first filleted and the bones were used for making the stock. After a half an hour of simmering the fish bones were replaced with the filets. Voilá, the soup was ready and it was served with fresh bread and rouille, garlic paste.
Since we had some homemade fish stock in the freezer, we didn’t need to use the bones. But if you don’t have fish stock at hand, we strongly recommend using the bones to cook the stock from the scratch because it’s so easy!
The list of vegetables can vary depending what you have in the fridge. As long as you have some tomatoes, onions, leek, fennel and carrots, you can use additional vegetables whatever you have on hand.
Ingredients for Bouillabaisse for 4+ Servings
- 1 kg (2 lbs.) of fish, shrimps and mussels – mariscos
- 1/2 litre (2 1/2 cups) of fish stock (or water, if you are making the stock now from scrach) – caldo de pescado o agua
- 1 bottle of white wine – vino blanco
- 2 onions – cebollas
- 1 spring onion – cebollita
- 1 fennel – hinojo
- 1/2 leek – puerro
- 5 tomatoes with skins removed – tomates
- 3 carrots – zanahornas
- 2 paprikas – pimientos
- 1 zucchini – calabacín
- 4 bay leaves – hojas de laurel
- a splash of olive oil – aceite oliva
- sea salt – sal marina
- freshly ground black pepper – pimienta negra
Cut all the vegetables into cubes and fry them in olive oil for 3 minutes. If you are making fish stock now, add water, white wine and the fish bones. Season with bay leaves, salt and pepper and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bones, but leave vegetables into the soup.
If you have ready made fish stock, add the stock and white wine on top of the vegetables and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Cut the fish fillets into thumb size knobs and add them along with shrimps to the soup 5 minutes before serving. If you have mussels, let them simmer in the soup until they open.
Ingredients for Rouille
- 1 big floury potato – patata harinosa
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil – aceite oliva
- 2 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
- a pinch of dried chili – pimiento picante seco
- 4 egg yolks – yemas
- sea salt – sal marina
- ground black pepper – pimienta negra
Cook the potato and add all ingredients except olive oil into the blender. Start adding the oil into the mixture slowly as a steady stream while the blender is running. Keep pouring until the mixture is sauce-like. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper, if needed. Place a slice of country style bread on the soup plate and scoop some rouille on top.
And by the way, it’s our first anniversary! Our first post was exactly 1 year ago!