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  • That absolutely perfect Provencal Fish Soup from Joe

     marg-cdn2 updated 1 month ago 2 Members · 3 Posts
  • marg-cdn2

    August 19, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    I have made this so many times and yesterday I served it to friends for lunch, along with a peach, green onion, peach vinegar vinaigrette, simple salad. The salad was a risk for me as I was just following the season but it turned out well and was totally demolished. (I love peach season)

    My guests loved it all but this is the first time I’ve had people eating the croutes with the aioli as a side. I had to keep toasting more to meet their demands. I certainly is delicious and I found myself the next evening, eating the leftover soup with 10 croutes mounded with aioli. We sure do all love garlic!

    I decided, since I had the time, to research the weight of a whole fish, versus its fillets. The answer is….it depends. But for this recipe I used 625 gm of cod fillets and I must remember that that was a good amount. I think I have used more in the past. And I never discard the soup bits, I just coarsely blend it and serve it all.

    Provencal Fish Soup with Saffron Rouille Gourmet | March 2008

    Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you: Yes, after simmering the fish with aromatics, wine, and tomatoes, we advise you to force every last bit through a food mill—heads, tails, bones, and all—for an incredibly lush soup, tasting of a beautiful union between land and sea (the food mill will strain any unwanted solids to be discarded). A garlicky rouille, exotic with a touch of crumbled saffron, further coaxes out the natural richness of the fish.

    Makes 8 (first course) servings Active Time: 1 1/4 hr Total Time: 1 3/4 hr

    4 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
    1 large fennel bulb, stalks discarded, reserving fronds for garnish, and bulb chopped
    3 medium carrots, chopped
    2 large celery ribs, chopped
    4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
    2 California or 4 Turkish bay leaves
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
    5 pounds whole whiting, perch, or cod (preferably with heads), cleaned and rinsed well
    5 medium tomatoes, chopped (4 cups) less
    2 cups dry white wine
    4 (3- by 1-inch) strips fresh orange zest less
    6 cups water
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    1 baguette, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices

    Accompaniment: saffron rouille

    Wash leeks . Cook leeks, fennel bulb, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil with herbes de Provence, bay leaves, cayenne, saffron, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in an 8-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.

    While vegetable mixture cooks, cut fish crosswise into 2- to 3-inch lengths.

    Add tomatoes, wine, and zest to vegetable mixture and bring to a boil, then boil 30 seconds. Add fish, water, and tomato paste and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until fish completely falls apart, about 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

    Arrange baguette slices in 1 layer on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and thoroughly dried, about 20 minutes.

    Remove orange zest and bay leaves. Force soup through food mill into a large heavy pot, discarding solids. Reheat soup over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

    Mound rouille on croutons and put 1 in bottom of each soup bowl. Pour soup around croutons.

    Cooks’ note:
    Soup, without rouille and croutons, can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, uncovered, until completely cooled, then covered. Reheat before serving. Saffron Rouille

    1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads +
    1/4 teaspoon hot water
    1 cup mayonnaise scant
    1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice +
    2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne use half


    Sprinkle saffron over hot water in a small cup and let stand 1 minute.

    Blend saffron mixture with remaining ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth.

    Cooks’ notes: ·Instead of your own roasted peppers, you can use rinsed bottled roasted red peppers.

    Rouille can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.

    My notes…I added extra garlic

  • marilynfl

    August 20, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    Marg, please explain. Did you use only cod fillets? Because in 68 years I have only bought one whole fish (eyeballs included) and that was to steam in bamboo wok (China Moon recipe). Then I had to lay Napa cabbage leaves over its head to serve it because I couldn’t deal with them.

    So I’d never try this recipe if I had to do that. Also, I’ve never see whole cod—only fillets.

    • marg-cdn2

      August 21, 2021 at 2:27 pm

      Yep, just the cod fillets. I bought a bag of frozen ones and at 625 gm. it worked well. It would be bright of me to note that on the recipe so I don’t have to wonder next time.

      I like whole fish in the salt crust. I’ve done snapper that way, several times. And the guy couldn’t close his eyes while I was salting him. I am a bit squeamish about all those extras as well, but the end product is worth it and somehow, the eyes are less threatening on my counter than they are in the fishmonger’s case.

      By the way, I also made the soup a day ahead and reheated. It made no difference and with the rouille made ahead, it was an easy meal for people who are available only for lunch.

      I noticed some haddock fillets on sale and am going to try another batch with haddock, to freeze.

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