To prepare the soup base, heat the olive oil in a heavy 6-quart pot. Add the onions, and sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender but not browned. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes and seasonings, and simmer 3-4 minutes. Pour in the stock, salt lightly to taste, and cook slowly, loosely covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the orange peel.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups sliced onions
- 8 larve cloves garlic, unpeeled, chopped
- 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, unpeeled
- 2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3 pinches saffron threads
- One 1"x3" piece orange peel, dried
- 2 quarts fish stock
- Salt and freshly ground red pepper to taste
- 2-1/2 pounds boneless and skinless lean fish, cut into chunks (cod, halibut, sea bass, red snapper, catfish, or preferably a combination)
- 16 slices good French bread, sliced 3/4" thick, lightly toasted and brushed with olive oil
- 1-1/2 cups rouille
- 1 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan or hard Jack cheese (optional)
Bring the soup base to a boil, then fold in the fish. Bring back to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the fish are barely opaque and lightly springy to the touch. Correct seasoning.
To serve, place 2 rounds of French bread in each large soup bowl, top with a spoonful of the rouille, ladle on the fish, then the soup, and garnish with a sprinkling of parsley. Optionally top with grated cheese.
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)