Bouillabaisse – Julia Child
Julia Child’s bouillabaisse; A quick and hearty fish stew full of flavor and spice. Easily personalize this dish with your favorite varieties of seafood.
Even though I’m not a seafood lover, I’ve mentioned before how much I do love living in New England where fresh seafood is so easy to come by. I never sought out a fish store before living where we do now. Just fifteen minutes away and I can get an amazing variety of very fresh, local seafood. Sure, I could just as easily go to the grocery store but I’d much rather go to a specialty shop if there’s one nearby. The staff will be more knowledgable, the variety may be better and the product may even be fresher. Always a plus.
With it being summer, I was left with two options for this weeks JC100 adventure… take all three kids to the fish market or the less exciting option, wait until The Mr was around so I could go alone.
Picture a small enclosed space and wild animals, that isn’t too much of a stretch. Slightly frightening, yes? People think I’m crazy for taking all three kids out at once, by myself especially. I tweeted my fears as I sat in the fish market parking lot. We’d been out running errands prior to that without any major issues, my good luck was surely bound to run out. Thankfully someone was looking out for me because the children all behaved. Phew!
A bag full of fresh seafood and we were on our way.
First came some research. If you don’t know what debearding a mussel is, check that out. It’s easy. Only one of mine needed to be cleaned, the rest were good to go.
Then came the fun part. Have you ever played with a mussel before? I was highly amused getting them to close after opening. Snapping them at my oldest. She was fascinated. Call it seafood torture if you want but they were headed to a boiling pot of liquid anyway. It’s not like I had them tap dancing away on the counter. Though I have been known to have a chicken dance once or twice. The difference it that one was already dead but still headed to the oven.
I’ve never in my life cooked shrimp or mussels… or lobster. Each time I’ve cooked with lobster I’ve gone the easy route and bought it ready to go. It makes my life easier and with this recipe you only need a tail so go ahead and take the easy route too. I bought shrimp that had been cleaned too. I didn’t want to be bothered with looking up how to devein a shrimp. I’ll leave that for another time. This dish was meant to be quick and easy in my eyes. The less work, the better.
With some minor adjustments and a quick boil, a hearty seafood soup was ready. A medley of spices gave perfect flavoring and a slight kick. If you aren’t a fan of spice then feel free to omit the red pepper flakes. It isn’t hot, but does give a little something extra to the dish. The best thing about this soup is that you can play around with the seafood thrown in as well as the spices. Use a variety of seafood that you enjoy most.
Yield: Serves 3-4
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6oz canned chopped tomatoes, drained
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- 15oz can seafood stock**
- 2C water
- 1 lobster tail, cooked and chopped
- 6 large shrimp, deveined
- 8 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1 flounder fillet, cut into large chunks
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add liquid, herbs and seasonings. Bring to a moderate boil for 10 minutes.
Finally add cooked lobster meat, shrimp, mussels and flounder (or other white meat fish). Stir gently. Cover and bring to a boil for an additional 5-10 minutes. The mussels are done when they have opened. If some do not open, discard. The shrimp will turn an opaque color with a hue of pink and the flounder will be flaky and white.
Remove from heat. Serve warm with fresh bread and Parmesan cheese, if desired.
*I cut this one way back and adjusted the seasonings. Below you'll find the recipe I made.
**I used Bar Harbor seafood stock. The original recipe calls for clam juice. If you cannot find seafood stock, use 2 8oz jars of clam juice instead. Seafood stock will be located near the other stocks and broths. Clam juice should be near the canned fish.
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
Celebrating 100 with Julia Child:
Week 1: Rolled omelette
Week 2: Chocolate mousse
Week 3: Coq au Vin
Week 4: Salade Niçoise
Week 5: Vichyssoise
Week 6: Reine de Saba
Week 7: Fillet Meunière
Week 8: Roast Chicken
Week 9: Charlotte Chantilly