Bouillabaisse is a French seafood stew made with various kinds of cooked fish, shellfish and vegetables. It is flavored with different herbs and spices, and is served with crusty bread. I served mine with lightly fried polenta and basil. You can use any types of non-oily and firm-flesh fish for this wonderful stew.Ingredients: (serves 4)
2-3 lbs fresh fish
1 lb clams
1 lb mussels, rinse well
½ lb large prawns, shelled with tail intact
½ lb calamari (cut into bite-sized)
5 ripe tomatoes, skinned removed and chopped
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 large red onions, chopped
1 bunch of bouquet garni (sage, bay leaf, thyme)
1 fennel, sliced thinly (leave the stems for soup base)
¼ cup olive oil
6-8 pistils of saffron
½ tsp. orange peel
1 crusty bread, sliced and toasted
a dash of Cayenne pepper (optional)
a handful of parsley, chopped for garnishing
pepper and sea salt
2 cups fish or chicken stock
2 Tbsp. white wine (optional)
1. Clean and scaled the fish and rinse well. Fillet the fish and cut into large slices, leaving the bones and heads for stock.
2. In a large pot add some oil and fry half of the onions and garlic until fragrant and soft. Add the fish trimmings, bay leaf, some parsley, and fennel stems. Fry for about 5 minutes until the bones are lightly brown. Pour this mixture into a muslin bag and secure with strings. Return it to the pot and add the stock. Simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes.
3. Remove stock to cool enough to handle. Squeeze and press the muslin bag to obtain as much of the fish juices as possible into a bowl. Strain the rest of the stock in the pot. Remove the excess fish mixture in the muslin bag.
4. In the same pot, add remaining oil and heat over medium heat. Add the leftover onions and garlic and fry until soft and fragrant. Add the fennel and tomatoes and fry for another 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through. Add in the fish stock, orange peel, Cayenne pepper (if used) and bring to a boil.
5. Add the pieces of fish, cuttlefish and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and the rest of the shellfish. for about 10 minutes. Add saffron strands and season with salt and pepper and wine (if used). Cook for another 5 minutes.
6. Serve warm with slices of crusty bread pepper. Add clam juice, lemon juice, and white wine. Bring to a simmer again and cook about 5 minutes longer. Remove and serve with toasted bread.