Saturday, December 20, 2008


It is often said that a real Bouillabaisse is impossible to create outside of the coastal area of Provence. While purists maintain that a classic Bouillabaisse must always include rascasse (scorpion fish), an ingredient not readily available everywhere, the authenticity of the dish is most commonly violated not by omission, but active transgression. What appears on restaurant and bistro menus is most certainly not a Bouillabaisse, whatever it may be called - if it's a dish that's made to order, it isn't even a distant cousin.

Bouillabaisse was originally a soup prepared by fisherman from fish too small or bony to sell at market. The term itself is a compound of bouillir (to boil) and abaisser (to lower). It is slow cooking, and it is men's cooking - out of doors, in a single pot. While some recipes call for the addition of octopus or sea urchin, these are surely modern refinements. I'm fairly confident that the original dish does not include any shellfish, and that Bouillabaisse is made only from finned fish.

The fish is typically served on a platter, while the resultant broth is served in a bowl with toast spread with rouille.

No comments:

Post a Comment