Sunday, December 18, 2011

Maria’s Bouillabaisse

(Seafood Stew from the port of Marseilles with various kinds of cooked fish and shellfish and vegetables, flavored with a variety of herbs and spices such as garlic, orange peel, basil, bay leaf, fennel and saffron.)
Once a week I get together with a group of female friends for an afternoon of bridge, scrabble and / or mahjong depending on who shows up. But mostly we take turns trying to impress one another with our cooking prowess and have an excuse to eat and drink some wine together. Last week – Maria won hands down with her Bouillabaisse.  I arrived early enough to help her put it together so I feel qualified to share her recipe which is for 8 people.

2 leeks white part only sliced 1/8 inch or so thick
4 cloves of garlic finely diced
1 jalapeno (remove half of the seeds)
1 onion chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
rind of 1 orange julienned
1 32 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of fish stock
1 1/2 lb catfish or monk fish cut into 2 inch chunks
1 lb sea scallops
24 little neck clams (soaked in cold water mixed with 1 tablespoon of flour for 15 minutes to get the sand out)
1 lb cleaned shrimp

2 potatoes (boiled and peeled)
4 gloves of garlic (minced)
½ red bell pepper and 1 jalapeno (boiled for three minutes, drained and chopped).

Two baguettes warmed in the oven.

Sauté the leeks, garlic, onion and jalapeno, in 3 tablespoons of olive oil slowly over medium/low flame until soft (15 minutes) Add fennel seeds, orange rind, cook for another 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and stock.
Cook for 20 minutes. This can be made several hours prior to serving but you will need to reheat the soup base before continuing. 20 minutes before serving add the clams set timer for 5 minutes then add the rest of the seafood. Cook another 5-6 minutes

Use a potato ricer to crush the potatoes, garlic, red pepper and jalapeno together to make the “Rouille” which is served in a small bowl next to the stew.

Serve the stew in large bowls with pieces of the warm baguette.  Pass the Rouille so each can add 1-2 tablespoons to their bowls.

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