cartoon by marc johns.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Mommy! Bouillabaisse

The Birthday Bouillabaisse!

Bouillabaisse is a french soup with seafood (mainly shellfish) in it.  Instead of eating it like soup, my family likes to pour it over whole wheat pasta.  It's delicious.  My brother and I made this for out mother's birthday dinner, by her request.
This recipe is surprisingly easy, especially for how impressively gourmet it sounds, looks, and tastes.  This is what I call a good recipe for guests because everyone will think you worked so hard and did so much, but really, it isn't too much work.
It comes from The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook:

The cookbook
This recipe is also pretty forgiving.  The original recipe serves 12, so we sort of made our own version for the four in the family.  We love veggies, so we added a lot more vegetables than the recipe calls for.  We also doubled the garlic and added different seafood than the recipe.  SO, this is the tweaked family birthday version of this recipe.

Serves 4-6.

1-2 leeks
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 pinch of ground red cayenne pepper
1 cup dry white wine (We just used 2-buck Chuck from Trader Joe's)
1 8 ounce bottle of clam juice
1 can (14-16 ounces) of tomatoes
1 cup water
2 strips (3" by 1" each) of orange peel
1/2 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch of black pepper

Broth Ingredients

Seafood Ingredients:  (Vary it with your preferences)

I took pictures of all of our seafood because it was all so pretty and fresh.

1/2 pound tilapia (or any other white fish)

Tilapia (raw)
8-10 mussels

1/2 pound of small scallops
Small scallops (raw)
8 clams
1/2 pound of medium shrimp, deveined and shelled


Now, onto the cooking.  The first thing you do is make the broth.  All of the seafood cooks pretty fast.  (Some of it in a minute or two).

1. This is a leek:

A leek!
To prepare a leek to cook, you trim off the green leafy part and the roots part at the end of the white tip.  

For this recipe, slice the part you are left with lengthwise and then into small slices horizontally.  

Leeks tend to get grit and dirt in them, so before you cook leeks and after you slice them you need to wash them thoroughly.  I put them in a bowl of cold water for a minute or so to let the dirt soak out and into the bottom of the bowl.  Then I scoop out the leek slices.  You can wash your leeks any way you like, but make sure you do!
My leek slices soaking in the cold water.
2.  Slice the fennel bulb and onion into thin slices. 
3.  Put leeks, onion, fennel, and olive oil into a dutch oven and saute over medium heat until vegetables are tender.  About 15 minutes.
The veggies.
4.  Chop up 2 cloves of garlic while the vegetables are cooking.
5.  Add the cayenne pepper and garlic to the onion, leek, and fennel mixture.  Cook about 3 minutes, and then add the white wine.

With the white wine.
6.  Heat until boiling and boil for 1 minute.  Stir in clam juice and can of tomatoes with their juice.  Break up the tomatoes with your spoon while stirring.
7.  Add water, orange peel, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Heat to boiling.
8.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Discard bay leaf.

The finished broth.
9.  While the broth is boiling, clean and prepare the seafood.
10.  Boil water and make the pasta.
11.  Increase heat to medium-high and begin to add seafood.  Use your judgement of what seafood to add first.  Normally you would add the fish first, but our tilapia was sliced so thin that we actually added the shrimp first.  

Just added shrimp.
This is what we did: cooked the shrimp about a minute and then added the mussels and clams.  Cover the pot and cook for another 1-3 minutes, or until shells open.  Add tilapia and scallops.  Cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring.  

The mussels have opened!
12.  Remove from heat.  Ladle over noodles.  We also ate ours with a nice crusty bread to soak up the extra broth.  

A plate over pasta.

So, I hope everyone enjoys our adapted bouillabaisse recipe.  Happy birthday Mom!  I love you!!


1 comment:

  1. I love this recipe. I made it twice already. i can't wait to see what your going to do next. I love you.



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