Friday, April 23, 2010

Shortcut Bouillabaisse...

A couple days ago, it was rainy and chilly in L.A.. I think I brought the weather back with me from New York. The perfect kind of weather for hot, steaming comfort food.

I was flipping through Braises and Stews: Everyday Slow Cooked Recipes, a beautiful cookbook I have by Tori Ritchie. The "Shortcut Bouillabaisse" really stood out to me. Shortcut being the magic word!

It ended up being really easy to make but it tastes like you cooked it on the stove all day. The fish I used was orange roughy. I also threw in a handful of shrimp that I had in the fridge and a tablespoon of chopped garlic . Not sure why salt and pepper aren't ingredients in the original recipe but I added it. The mayonnaise dollop made all the difference, giving it the richness and spice it needed. I'll definitely be making this again.

Shortcut Bouillabaisse
Serves 4

• 1 medium-size leek
• 1 fennel bulb
• 4 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 strips orange zest
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
salt and pepper
• 1 1/2 pounds halibut, cod or rockfish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 8 diagonal slices baguette, about 1/4-inch thick
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 1 clove garlic, pressed
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
Cut the root end and green tops off the leek.
Slice the white part of the leek in half lengthwise, then rinse the layers well.
Slice the leek thinly crosswise.
Cut the green tops off the fennel bulb, then cut the bulb in half lengthwise. Cut out the core,
then slice each half thinly crosswise, reserving about 1/4 cup of the feathery leaves.
Put the thyme, zest and reserved fennel leaves in a piece of doubled cheesecloth
and tie it to make a bouquet garni.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 10- to 12-inch saute pan or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the leek and fennel slices; cook, stirring, until softened, for about 5 minutes. Crumble in the saffron and pour in the wine, letting it boil for about 1 minute.
Add the broth and let come to a boil. Add the bouquet garni, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Place the fish in the pan, cover again and cook until the fish is opaque, for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the broiler. Place the bread on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler until golden on both sides; brush with the remaining oil. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, garlic and cayenne. Ladle the bouillabaisse into shallow bowls and top with a spoonful of spiced mayonnaise. Angle 2 slices of toasted bread in each bowl and serve.

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