No summer is complete without making Bouillabaisse. It always reminds my mom and dad of their time visiting the South of France, eating with friends at one of their favorite restaurants, Tatou. The fennel, the saffron, the briny seafood is ideally consumed around a table of friends, sipping a crisp rose. My children love the garlicky rouille smeared on the baguette and dunked into the warm broth.
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned, split in half, then cut into long strips, then diced
2 fennel bulbs, diced plus 2 tablespoons fennel fronds minced
½ cup of celery diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 teaspoons salt
1 small can of tomato paste
1 cup white wine
6 cups of canned whole tomatoes with their juice, broken into pieces
12 cups vegetable or fish stock
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 dozen little neck clams, well cleaned
2 dozen mussels, de-bearded and cleaned
1½ pounds of firm white fish (can be halibut, snapper, sea bass or mix)
1 dozen scallops
salt and pepper to taste
In a large Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks, fennel, celery, and garlic. Stir and add bay leaf, fennel seeds, saffron and salt. Cook until vegetables are soft but not brown, about ten minutes. Mix in the tomato paste and cook for about two minutes, then pour in white wine. Raise heat and boil for about 3 minutes. Then add in tomatoes, stock, and red pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. This can be made the day before and stored in refrigerator. Bring soup to a boil, turn heat to medium and place clams and mussels in broth. Cover and cook for abut three minutes until shells have opened. Add in the remaining fish, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add scallops, cover and cook for 2 minutes or until all seafood is cooked. Remove any unopened shells. Serve with baguette and rouille.
Rouille (Saffron Garlic Mayonnaise)
Makes about 1 cup
¾ teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon hot broth from the bouillabaisse
1 fresh French roll with crust trimmed
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup olive oil
Stir in a small bowl the saffron and 2 tablespoons of hot stock. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. In a food processor process roll into crumbs. Add ¾ of a cup of bread crumbs to saffron mixture and mash with fork until a loose paste forms. Add more stock if too stiff. In food processor or blender add red pepper, garlic and salt. Puree and add in the egg yolk. Pulse bread mixture in, little by little until smooth. Slowly stream in the oil until the mixture is emulsified. Check seasoning. Cover and refrigerate. Use same day.
A square meal is satisfying, nourishing, complete.
A round table includes all.