Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Bouillabaisse a la Cape Town

If you have been following my blog for a while ( a week would be long enough), you'll know I have been reading Julia Child: A Life by Laura Shapiro.

I am totally inspired to stretch my South African culinary boarders to France. As you read how Julia explains French food, it no longer seems daunting. She said "
Once you have mastered a technique, you barely have to look at a recipe again", and this is so true about all cooking.

So I thought I would start with something simple, yet quintessentially French - Bouillabaisse. This dish is a bit of a scared cow in France, each chef claiming their version as the only truly authentic dish. I looked through all my cook books, scoured the Internet and finally came full circle back to Julia's interpretation as the only one I felt confident enough to try. Who better to ask about French food than an American?

I sourced the recipe here. Using as much French flair as I could muster, I ended up only making one change. I used a fresh fennel bulb thinly sliced and added with the leeks and onions, instead of using fennel seeds as instructed.

While the recipe looks long and complicated, it is really very easy and is perfect for entertaining, because everything revolves around the stock, which you can even make a day ahead if you think you will be pressed for time.

I did spend a fair amount of time preparing my fish and seafood, so that everything would be bone free and perfectly portioned. I used the following fish - yellowtail, sole and panga, as this is what I could get at my fish monger, but so long as you follow the "rules" set out in the beginning of the recipe, you can use whatever is local and lekker (nice)! I also included prawns and calamari - again these are ingredients which are easily available and within my price range.

I strained the stock twice - once as instructed and again after I had cooked the fish in it - just to ensure it was perfectly (my new favourite word) clear.

I served this with heaps of French bread and a homemade olive focaccia. My guests and husband loved the meal and I will definitely be making this again soon.


The best way to execute French cooking -
is to get good and loaded and
whack the hell out of a chicken.
Bon app├ętit.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

Oooh, I'm a sucker for a good bouillebaisse!! Yours looks fabulous - can I come over? ;-)

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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