Friday, 2 December 2011

Bouillabaisse - Mediterranean Fish Soup

When I was flipping my new cookbook Indochine by Luke Nguyeny, I was so keen to try out one of his crab recipes. However, finding fresh crabs is difficult especially out of season. I tried to source it out from the nearest famous fish shop however still no luck for crabs. I remembered Jane told me about the mussels she bought from the shop was very sweet and juicy. Instead of crabs I  arrived home with some mussels and barramundi fillets. I remembered I have seen some seafood recipes in my new French cookbook where I found this one. There you go – a very special Bouillabaisse (I don’t even know how to pronounce this French dish) haha!! Bouillabaisse is the most renowned French fish soup in the south of the country. Savored by the local fishermen.

1kg mussels
1kg Barramundi fillet
2 tbs oil
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion chopped
2 cans of chopped tomato (2x400g can)
1.25L fish stock or water
pinch of saffron threads
bouquet garni
5cm piece of orange zest

1. Scrub the mussels and remove their beards. Discard any mussels that are already open and don't close when tapped on the work surface. Cut fish into bite-sized pieces.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the fennel and onion for 5 mins, or until golden.

3. Add the tomato to the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the stock, saffron, bouquet garni and orange zest, then bring to boil and boil for 15 minutes. Push the soup through a sieve or puree in a blender. Return to the clean pan, season well and bring back to boil.

4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the fish and mussels. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the fish is tender. Throw out any mussels that haven't opened in this time. Serve with bread.

Reference : World Kitchen : France by Murdoch Book. pg, 102

Tip: Bouquet Garni is a classic flavouring for stocks, soups and stews. The ingredients include: Thyme, Parsley, Marjoram and Bay leaves. You can get it from the supermarket spice and seasoning section.