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French Provence Bouillabaisse





2 lg. leeks
2 onions
1/2 lb. bulb fennel
1 cup olive oil
13 lbs. fresh fish and shellfish (e.g. pompano, sea perch, red snapper, halibut, eel, scallop, lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels)
5 cloves garlic
3/4 lb. tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 tbsp. tomato puree (paste)
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 dash ground saffron
Salt and pepper
1 stale baguette (French bread loaf)
1/2 cup parsley
1-1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Rouille Sauce

1 clove garlic
1 red chili pepper
Salt and pepper
2 egg yolks
1 cup olive oil


Cut the leeks, onions and fennel into fine strips or julienne, and braise them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot. Wash the fish, pat dry and cut into medium-sized pieces and set aside.

Braise the fish trimmings in some olive oil--heads, bones and skin--with the vegetables--leeks, onions and fennel. Stir from time to time. Add 2 1/4 quarts of water, the garlic, the tomatoes, tomato puree, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary and saffron. Season and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes, then strain. Meanwhile, to prepare the croutons, cut the baguette into thick slices, rub with garlic if liked, and bake in the oven 300 F. until pale golden brown and crisp.

Put the pieces of fish into a large saucepan. Sprinkle with the remaining olive oil and a little parsley. Stir. Pour the strained stock over the fish and cook very fast for 10 minutes. Add the shellfish and cook for another 5 minutes. Correct the seasoning.

Make the rust-colored rouille sauce by crushing the garlic and chili pepper to a paste in a mortar. Add salt, pepper and the egg yolks, then add the olive oil, drop by drop, stirring continuously. Test the seasoning, and serve in a sauceboat with 2 or 3 tablespoons of fish soup added.

Drain the fish carefully and place in a large, deep dish. Sprinkle with some of the fish soup. Serve the rest of the soup in a tureen garnished with chopped parsley. Serve the croutons, grated Gruyere cheese and rouille sauce separately.

Country Cooking..Regional and Traditional Recipes of Europe and North America

Author's Comments

For its unique flavor, bouillabaisse depends on fish which are native to the Mediterranean alone; this version uses American fish.

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