Recipe: Bouillabaisse, or celery and tomato fish soup

With the onset of cooler weather in Sydney, I went on the hunt for a Bouillabaisse recipe. I like how the word rolls off the tongue, and plus, they ate it in the Harry Potter books at the group feasts.

So I found this one:, and because I had forgotten to print it out, I also followed Stephanie’s Fennel and Tomato fish soup, which seemed very similar.
Pinch of saffron threads
2 tablespoons of warm water or stock
1 bulb fennel
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
piece of orange zest
freshly ground black pepper
1.5 litres water or fish stock
500g fish, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 parboiled potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes

I had tried the bouillabaisse at Balmain’s Fundamental Fish last year, and there it had been very smokey and rich, with the overpowering taste of roe throughout the dish. I like roe, but not that much!

Heading to the fishmonger, the only thing still on display were the prawns, so I got 500g of the small green ones, and luckily L had bought some swordfish steaks home, which I could use to add fish to the soup.

Similarly, the greengrocer was also packing up shop, and the fennel was already in the cold room. So 1/2 head of celery, and 3 cans of Italian tomatoes.

I didn’t feel like getting 200g of powdered fish stock which I would never use again, I used a packet of Japanese miso stock.

Whilst the mixture was simmering, I spent ages shelling and deveining the prawns. They didn’t really look all that fresh, the heads were half off the prawns, so at first I thought they had been cleaned, but no. After half the packet, I had enough (plus I was hungry).

Finally, I made the capsicum rouille with half a jar of roasted capsicum (the other half, having been devoured by L whilst waiting for dinner!), using the breadcrumbs purchased for an earlier adventure. It was good, and an easy way to make something ‘dippy’.

I finished the dish by stirring through a can of crab meat. Not my preferred choice, but I was limited in what I could get. This spread evenly throughout the soup and made it very thick.

The end result was really very tasty, and the roast capsicum rouille was quite moreish. Next time I shall try and get some more fresh seafood to add in!


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