Bouillabaisse

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Many people have traditional holiday dishes they prepare year after year with no thought of deviation.  I don’t fall into that group of people because;  A) I’m not traditional and B) every holiday throughout the year is an opportunity to try something new and Christmas eve is no different.  My daughter and I take turns hosting holidays and this Christmas eve it was dinner at my house.  Deciding on what to cook is never a dilemma because I always have a stash of recipes I’m yearning to take a stir at.  As you can imagine, when I cook on a holiday it’s quite a dramatic production from gourmet food to a table set for a queen or a bloggess!

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I begin giving thought to the menu months before the actual holiday.  Back in October I visited a friend in NYC and we went out for a light dinner before a show and I had bouillabaisse at a French restaurant in Manhattan.  I have yet to get the rich flavor of the broth out of my mind, so I decided bouillabaisse was going to be the focal point of our holiday dinner, 2015.

And there’s no one better than Julia Child to take the lead in my kitchen with her recipe for this Mediterranean fisherman’s stew along with a couple of sidesteps to simplify the process without sacrificing flavor.  Let’s get started….

Bouillabaisse
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First we'll make the rich broth and then add the fish and seafood later. I prepared mine in a large Le Creuset stockpot and I have to warn you, your home will smell so fragrant that you'll want to book the next flight to Marseille and enjoy fisherman's stew seaside in this beautiful Mediterranean city.
Servings
6 people
Servings
6 people
Bouillabaisse
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
First we'll make the rich broth and then add the fish and seafood later. I prepared mine in a large Le Creuset stockpot and I have to warn you, your home will smell so fragrant that you'll want to book the next flight to Marseille and enjoy fisherman's stew seaside in this beautiful Mediterranean city.
Servings
6 people
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
  • 1 cup onion minced
  • 3/4 cup leek, white part minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic mashed
  • 4 medium tomatoes, ripe roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 quarts seafood stock I used Swanson brand
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/8 tsp fennel, dried
  • 2 big pinches saffron
  • 2 inch piece orange peel
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • shellfish shells, meat removed for use later shrimp, crab, lobster
  • 3-4 lbs shell fish shrimp, lobster, crab, clams, mussels
  • 3-4 lbs firm-fleshed fish cod, halibut,flounder, grouper
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cook the onions and leeks slowly in olive oil for 5 minutes or until tender but not brown.
  2. Stir in the garlic and tomatoes. Raise heat to moderate and cook 5 minutes more.
  3. Add the seafood stock, herbs, seasonings and shellfish shells and cook uncovered at a moderate boil for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Strain the soup though a mesh sieve, pressing juices out of ingredients. You should have 2 1/2 quarts liquid, if not add additional seafood stock or clam juice.
  5. Correct the seasoning by adding salt or a bit more saffron if you feel it necessary.
  6. Take your 2 1/2 quarts liquid and place in a tall stockpot.
  7. Bring the soup to a rapid boil 20 minutes before serving. Add lobster, crab, and fish. Quickly bring back to a boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp, clams and mussels and simmer for 5 minutes longer or until the fish are just tender. Do not over cook or seafood and fish will become tough.
  8. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of fresh parsley on top. The traditional French way of serving this aromatic soup is to ladle the broth into bowls and serve the fish and seafood on a separate platter.
Recipe Notes

I served both the broth and fish/seafood together in large pasta bowls with No Knead Fougasse (bread) on the side.

For the sake of keeping this somewhat economical I used 1 large lobster, 3 snow crab clusters, 1/2 lb clams, 1 lb jumbo shrimp, 1 lb mussels and 1/2 lb cod.  To be honest, there isn't a thing I would change next time around, it was absolutely delicious.

If you wish to serve wine with your bouillabaisse, choose a rosé or dry Riesling.  For you red wine lovers a Côte de Provence or Beaujolais would be lovely.

Enjoy!

Lynn

 

Note:  Adapted from Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking.

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