Bouillabaisse: Soup of Gold

dinner1a_smallI?d read somewhere that bouillabaisse is called “Soup of Gold.” And though it?s likely referring to the golden color of the broth the saffron creates, after seeing the grand total on the receipt at the market for the ingredients, it seems like an appropriate name. So does Soup of Perfection, but more on that later.

Bouillabaisse is traditionally a rustic and somewhat simple fisherman?s stew from the Proven?al region of France. It?s a subtle combination of ingredients including?onion, fennel, garlic, orange zest, olive oil and saffron, none of which should ever overpower the main show-stopping ingredient?the fish. Though you could take some shortcuts to save money and not use as much shellfish in your soup, for the most delicious depth of flavor, I suggest you?re either all in or all out. But that?s my take on most experiences, including love.

I used an even mix of clams, mussels, shrimp and true cod, but feel free to?vary the fish to your liking. Potatoes would be a?scrumptious?addition, but that?s an experiment for another day. I?m mostly gluten-free these days, so grilled gluten-free bread (call it a?gluton if you like ? rhymes with crouton) for sopping up the broth was?definitely in order. Pair it with a lively Ros? de Provence (sparkling or not) and you have yourself a fabulous French fish feast.

One of the greatest things about this dish, aside from the sheer enjoyment of the flavors, is that it reminds you that pink wines?are not just for summer. Bouillabaisse is perfect any time of year; and so is the ros? you serve alongside.

Cooking a new recipe can sometimes?be a recipe for disaster. In this instance, with French Jazz?playing in the background as I moved about the kitchen, it felt more like a well-choreographed dance. Sitting at the table, slurping the results of an experiment gone right, I realized I?d ladled up the Soup of Perfection and hope to dance this dance again and again.

Wine pairings: Ros?, of course.

Just for fun, read the Clifford Right?s telling of the mythic tale of bouillabaisse here.?For the record, I was not trying to lull any man to sleep so I could spend time with Mars, I just wanted some really great fish stew.

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Bouillabaisse Recipe:
Serves 4-6

2 T olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced thin
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
2 leeks, white bulbs sliced thin
2 tomatoes, concasse (peeled, seeded and diced)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T orange zest
2 T parsley, minced
2 bay leaves
1 generous pinch of saffron
1/4 t cayenne pepper
6 cups of fish stock
2 T Pernod
1?lb true cod
Bread sliced, brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic.

  1. Sweat onions, fennel and leeks in olive oil until soft but not browned.
  2. Add garlic and simmer until fragrant.
  3. Add fish stock, tomato, pernod, saffron, orange zest and herbs/spices (except parsley) and bring to boil over medium heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add fish and poach for 5?minutes.
  5. Add shellfish like prawns, clams and mussels and steam until the shells open.
  6. Broil or grill slices of bread.
  7. Ladle the broth and fish equally into bowls, garnish with fresh parsely. Top with sliced bread, serve immediately and enjoy with a glass or three of your favorite ros?.
  8. Thank me later.
Aquaman to the Rescue Ring Around the Oregon Ros

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