Remember before this financial crisis madness started we were all worried about silly things like what color shirt? or what’s for dinner? Those salad days have come and gone my friends… or are they? Step off that ledge and take a look at this Bouillabaisse. You’ll notice i added a symbolic lobster to an otherwise peasant dish, my own personal way of saying screw the recession!
Even if we have to live in cardboard boxes out in the streets there will still be lobster for dinner. Why? Because uneaten lobsters would grow big like elephants and come back to eat you. Eat the bastards before it’s too late! (err..i know.. you might want to double-check my logic on this one.)
Anyway, Wall Street crisis or not i’m busy as hell hence the lack of posting this past few days. I wanted to make a nice Bouillabaisse for a while and i finally found the time today. Let’s not call it a traditional Bouillabaisse because purists would squeak at the sight of mussels and lobster. To be fair, you can ask any Provençal cooks how to make bouillabaisse and you’ll get a different and passionate response each time. Me don’t care as long as it’s damn good. That’s all that counts, right?
Oh, and i almost forgot to tell you. I won something!! I left a comment on a gelato contest held by Elle.. and i won a bunch of Ciao Bella gelato!! Thank you dear! No.. i’m not sharing!
- 2 pounds rock fish, filleted, bones reserved
- 1 pound John Dory, filleted, bones reserved
- 2 pounds rouget or red snapper, filleted, bones reserved
- 1 pound striped bass, filleted, bones reserved
- 2 pounds grouper, filleted, bones reserved
- 6 blue crabs, broken into small pieces
- 16 small squid
- 1 cup mussels
- Two 1 1/2 pound lobsters, head separated and crushed
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 fennel bulb, diced
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 12 black peppercorns
- 1 star anise
- 1 strip of orange zest
- 3 Tablespoons Pastis (licorice-flavored alcohol from south of France)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 dried red chile pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 pinch saffron
- 5 parsley stems
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves
- 8-10 cooked potatoes 1 baguette
- 10 Tablespoons Gruyère cheese, grated
To prepare the bouillon, in a large, hot stockpot roast the bones of the rock fish, rouget, striped bass, grouper, crab and the lobster heads in the olive oil. Once the bones are caramelized, add the onion, celery, carrot, fennel and garlic; sweat for 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook until soft. Stir in the tomato paste and coat all of the vegetables and bones. Add the pastis, and cook until dry. Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add the peppercorns, chile pepper, bay leaf, thyme, star anise, orange zest, saffron, and parsley stems; add enough water to just cover everything. Cook until the liquid has reduced by a third. Stir frequently so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
In another large pot run all of the contents of the bouillabaisse through a medium holed food mill (you can also use a stick blender to puree the mixture and pass it through a chinois). Season with salt and pepper.
Bring the bouillon to a simmer and add each filet of fish individually based on its thickness (thickest filets first). Cut the lobster tail through the shell into large pieces. Add the lobster, squid and mussels to the bouillon. Cook until the mussels open. Serve as is in the pot.
To prepare the Rouille, in a food processor, combine all the ingredients. Season with salt pepper. Serve on the side with the Gruyère cheese, cooked potatoes and toasted baguette.