Bouillabaisse with Rouille
Well, it finally happened! Nico and I domesticated! I keep having to explain this to everyone. What is a Domestic Union? Well, it’s not quite marriage, but its official! Nico and I decided we wanted to share our health insurance and be able to visit each other in the hospital, but weren’t quite ready to figure out how to do our taxes together. And we get to throw ourselves a party, but don’t have to worry about any crazy ceremony.
The Bouillabaisse is foolproof! Bouillabaisse originates from Marseilles and was made of cheap cuts of fish and eaten by fishermen who reserved the better cuts to sell. Since then, it has become a quintessential dish. It is served with baguette and a Rouille drizzled into the soup to add flavor, much in the same way that sour cream is added to the Russian Borsht.
I have served this humble, yet magnificent soup many times over the past few years. I first created it for our French dinner, featured in our cookbook Chez Nous: Communal Dinners! We have friends from Marseilles that have come to many of our dinners, and they categorically confirm that our Bouillabaisse is just as it should be! Since then, I have served it for Thanksgiving every year, and decided to serve it for our wedding feast as well. France has created hundreds of marvelous soups, and I cook many of them, but Bouillabaisse felt like the perfect dish to represent the south of France.
Everything we do here at Chez Nous is about bringing people together and building a community, last Sunday, we brought people together to celebrate our union, it was great! To commemorate our love of food and each other, we decided to cook French and Russian food, to reflect our heritage. We didn’t want to worry about courses and serving our 50 guests, so everything went on the table at the same time, an epic buffet, as if from those old Russian royal fairytale feast illustrations from my Communist-era books.
We served a lovely cheese array (Check out our Cheese Plate Guide here), and made a variety of pates including our our Baked Camembert with Porcini Mushrooms and Fig Jam, Duck Terrine with Shallot Jam, Olive and Almond Tapenade, and Sardine Riclettes. We served these beauties with some Olive Crisps and French Baguette.
We continued our celebration into the dessert course! We served our favorite Cannelés Bordelais, a traditional Russian Smetannik, our favorite Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting, and two extra large Crème Brûlées!
- 2 bulbs fennel, thinly sliced, trimmings reserved
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 parsnips, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 leeks, white parts, sliced
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
- 8 cups (scant 2 L) fish stock
- 2 pounds (900 g) tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- pinch cayenne
- 4 pounds (1.75 kg) cod, sea bass, or white fish, cubed
- 1 pound (450 g) shrimp
- 1 pound (450 g) mussels
- pinch of saffron
- salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 pound (225 g) roast peppers, drained, diced
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 cup (240 mL) mayonnaise
- pinch of saffron
- salt and pepper
- Heat oil, add fennel, onion, garlic, parsnip, leek and fennel seed in a Dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pan. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Combine one cup (240 ml) of stock and saffron in a small bowl. Steep 10 minutes.
- Quarter, deseed, and chop tomatoes. Add tomato paste to
veggies, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and all stock. Season with salt and pepper cook 30 minutes.
- Add cayenne, fish and prawns. Boil for five minutes. Add mussels. Cook until shells open, 3-5 minutes.
- For the Rouille: Grind garlic, saffron, and cayenne.
Add vinegar blend until smooth.
Fold in remaining ingredients.
Season with salt and pepper.