Bouillabaisse | A French Fisherman Classic

I have learnt that there is a very clear distinction between food bloggers and food photographers / stylists. I am a food blogger and I concentrate on bringing you, my reader, the very best recipes I possibly can. I cook at night when I get home from work – yes, I do have a regular job. I usually start cooking at 18h00 and in summer it is still light, but in winter, the sun has set and it is a lights on situation. I dish up our supper around 19h00 and just before we go and sit down I take a photograph of our meal. Basically, what you see here is what we eat. On the very odd occasion I will take a photo during the day but that is about as close to food photography as I will get. This photograph is the bouillabaisse I made at home and photographed under a halogen light in my kitchen.

Bouillabaisse

I was very fortunate to spend an afternoon with Sam Linsell who is a food stylist / photographer. I made bouillabaisse for her and she showed me a few tricks of her trade. Sam showed me how she goes about styling her photographs and what goes in to taking the perfect shot. I learnt so much from her, and even though you don’t see it everyday on my blog it is something I think about each time I take a photo. I know that the next step for me is a better camera -but that is a long way off from happening as I am throwing all my spare cash at building a house, and I want to stay true to being a food blogger first and foremost. This photograph was taken by me and styled by Sam.

Bouillabaisse With Sam

I don’t make use of props as I am a bit impatient and I like to concentrate on the dish. Also, my blog is not photo ‘heavy’ as I am really all about the recipe. This recipe for bouillabaisse was tested over a long period of time and made about 4 times before I was happy with the end result. I hope you will give it a try!

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Bouillabaisse

Recipe Category: Seafood, Shellfish, Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 15 mls crushed garlic
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 sprig fennel fronds
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Piece dried orange rind
  • 300 g firm white fish, thickly sliced
  • 300 g mussels
  • 1 generous pinch saffron
  • 60 mls olive oil
  • 60 mls white wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 500 mls decent quality fish stock

Garnish

  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method

  • Using a heavy bottomed casserole dish with a lid, layer the onion, carrot, tomato and fennel
  • Add the garlic, chilli, fennel, the small bunch of parsley, thyme, bay leaf and the orange rind
  • Layer the fish and the shellfish on top
  • Grind the strands in a pestle and mortar
  • Add the oil and the wine and mix
  • Pour over the shellfish
  • Season generously with salt and pepper
  • Leave to marinade for 2 hours and then pour in the stock
  • You want the stock to cover the fish – you might not need all of it, and if you need more, use water
  • Bring to the boil with the lid on, remove the lid and boil for 12 minutes
  • Gently remove the shellfish and fish and place into a deep soup bowl
  • Strain the broth and serve over the fish and shellfish with a sprinkle of coriander

Notes

To dry a piece of orange rind: use a vegetable peeler and peel a piece of the skin off the orange without ‘grabbing’’ the pith. Dry in an oven heated to 100 Deg C for 20 minutes. Accompany with a French loaf and rouille

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