Getting Ahead: The bouillabaisse broth can be made up to 8 hours ahead and kept in the refrigerator. The fish should be cooked in the broth just before serving.
*plus 1-2 hours marinating time.Order of Work:
3 lb-1.4 kg mixed white fish, cleaned, on bone, with heads
2lb(1kg) mixed oily fish, cleaned, scaled, on bone
2 large pinches of saffron threads
6 garlic cloves
4 fl oz-125 ml olive oil
2 medium onions
2 medium leeks
2 celery sticks
1 fennel bulb or 5 ml (1 tsp) dried fennel seed
12 sprigs of parsley
1 bouquet garni made with 5-6 parsley stalks, 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf
1tbsp(15 ml) tomato puree
1tbsp(15 ml) Pernod or other aniseed-flavoured liqueur
croûtes and Quick Chilli Mayonnaise for serving (optional)
“Ask your fishmonger to trim and scale the fish."
#Purists maintain that a true bouillabaisse cannot be made away from the Mediterranean. However, you can create an excellent version based on local fish - possible white fish include cod, haddock, hake, red gurnard, red snapper, and whiting, while among the oily fish are eel, mackerel, and herring.# Rinse the fish inside and out, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. Keeping the white and oily fish separate, cut all the fish across into 5 cm (2 inch) chunks. Reserve the heads and tails for the stock. “Rinse the fish heads thoroughly to remove any blood which would make the stock bitter"
Make the marinade: put 1 large pinch of saffron threads in a small bowl and add 30 ml (2 tbsp) boiling water. Let the saffron soak 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves. Combine the saffron and its liquid, the finely chopped garlic, and 45 ml (3 tbsp) olive oil in a bowl. Stir to mix.
Put the white fish chunks in one large non-metallic bowl and the oily fish in another non-metallic bowl. Add half of the marinade to each bowl. "Saffron gives marinade striking yellow colour"
Toss the fish to coat thoroughly. Cover and marinate 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. "Stir fish to coat in marinade and ensure flavours are thoroughly absorbed" "Keep oily fish separate from white fish because they will cook at different speeds" "Stir fish to coat in marinade and ensure flavours are thoroughly absorbed"
Meanwhile, make the fish stock: put the heads and tails in a large saucepan, add water barely to cover and bring to a boil. Simmer 20 minutes.
Pour the fish stock through the sieve into a bowl and set aside. #Prepare the Broth# Peel the onions, leaving a little of the root attachedPeel the onions, leaving a little of the root attached, and cut them in half through the root and stalk. Lay each onion half flat on the chopping board and cut across into thin slices.
Trim the leeks, discarding the roots and the tough green tops. Slit hem lengthwise and wash thoroughly under running water.
Cut the leeks crosswise into thin slices using the chefs knife. "Use tender pale green part of leek tops as well as white portion"
With the vegetable peeler, remove the tough strings from each of the celery sticks.
Trim the ends from the celery sticks and cut crosswise into thin slices. "Flavour of thinly sliced celery will spread evenly through dish" "After strings are removed, celery is easy to slice"
Trim the base and the feathery green fronds from the fennel bulb.
Cut the bulb lengthwise in half, then cut each half into thin slices.
Cut the cores from the tomatoes and score an “x” on the base of each with the tip of a knife. Immerse in a pan of boiling water until the skin starts to split, 8-15 seconds depending on their ripeness. Using the slotted spoon, transfer them at once to a bowl of cold water. When cold, peel off the skin. Cut the tomatoes crosswise in half and squeeze out the seeds; coarsely chop each half. "The deeper the colour of the tomato, the more flavour it will have"
Peel a wide strip of zest from the orange with the vegetable peeler. Peel and coarsely chop the remaining garlic cloves.
Strip the parsley leaves from the stalks and pile them on the chopping board.
Coarsely chop the parsley leaves. Soak the remaining pinch of saffron threads in 45-60 ml (3-4 tbsp) boiling water, 10 minutes.
Heat the remaining oil in the casserole. Add the onions, leeks, celery, and fennel (or fennel seed). Cook, stirring, 5-7 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, orange zest, garlic, and chopped parsley to the casserole. "Variety of vegetables will make rich combination of flavours" "Fresh taste of parsley is essential accent to dish"
Tie the bouquet garni to the handle of the casserole. Pour in the fish stock. Add the saffron with its liquid and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
Simmer the broth until it has thickened and the flavour is mellow, 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. #Finish the Bouillabaisse# Bring the broth back to a boil. Add the oily fish and boil fiercely, 7 minutes. Shake the casserole from time to time to prevent the mixture from sticking; do not stir or the fish will disintegrate. “It is important to keep the liquid boiling rapidly so that the oil emulsifies with the broth and does not float on the surface." "Oily fish go into bouillabaisse first because they take longer to cook" "Fish will absorb flavour of broth while cooking"
Add the white fish pieces to the casserole. Set the pieces of the most delicate types of fish on top of the bouillabaisse.
Continue boiling until the fish just flakes easily with a fork, 5-8 minutes. If necessary, add more water during cooking so the fish remains covered.
With the slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a hot serving platter, arranging them so the different kinds are separated. Cover with foil to keep warm. "Transfer fish carefully or it may fall apart"
Discard the bouquet garni and orange zest from the broth and whisk in the tomato puree and Pernod. Taste the broth for seasoning. #TO SERVE# Ladle the broth into a soup tureen and serve at once, with the fish. Serve croütes and chilli mayonnaise on the side, if you like. "Spicy mayonnaise can be added to each portion to taste" "Spicy mayonnaise can be added to each portion to taste"