Pierre Koffman’s bouillabaisse is classic French cuisine at its finest – dig in for a warming delight.
“If I could choose, bouillabaisse would be my last supper before I die! Firstly, it’s a full meal in itself – traditionally you start by eating the rich fish soup, with a healthy helping of croutons piled with garlicky saffron rouille, then you eat the fish and vegetables for your ‘plat’. For me, the generosity of the dish and its flavours sum up the Mediterranean, and everything about it says sunshine.”
For the cooking stock:
• 100ml olive oil
• 1 onion, roughly chopped
• 1 leek, roughly chopped
• 1kg fish bones
• 1 tbsp tomato purée
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 small bouquet garni
• 300ml dry white wine
For the dish:
• 1 leek, sliced 2mm thick
• 200g potatoes, sliced 2mm thick
• 2 small red onions, sliced 2mm thick
• 2 tomatoes, sliced 2mm thick
• 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 200g conger eel, cut into 4 slices
• 200g monkfish, cut into 4 chunks
• 4 sea bream fillets
• 4 small red mullet
• salt and pepper
• 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
• Rouille, to serve
• Croutons, to serve
1 For the cooking stock, put the oil into a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek, fish bones, tomato purée, garlic, and bouquet garni, and leave to sweat until the vegetables have softened. Add the wine, and bring to the boil. Top up the liquid with water, so that the bones are completely covered.
2 Cook for 20 minutes, skimming the surface to remove any scum, then pass the stock through fine sieve and place in a clean pan. Keep warm.
3 Use a sauté pan large enough to hold all the ingredients at in layers. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of leek, then a layer of potato, then onion, then tomato. Continue to layer the vegetables until they have all been used up, scattering the garlic over one of the middle layers.
4 Bring the stock back to the boil. Place the conger eel on top of the vegetables and pour over the boiling stock. Season and bring the liquid back to a simmer, then simmer very gently for 5 minutes. 5 Add the monkfish, return to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes, then add the sea bream, return to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Finally add the red mullet, return to a simmer and cook for another 2 minutes.
6 Check the seasoning and scatter over the parsley. 5 Serve, ensuring all the diners get a piece of each fish, with the rouille and croutons alongside.
Recipe courtesy of Pierre Koffman. Extracted from‘Classic Koffmann’ by Pierre Koffmann with photography by David Loftus is published by Jacqui Small, RRP £30