Intense flavours, aromatic saffron, delicate seafood. We can only be talking about one thing – the beloved bouillabaisse. The sublime flavour medleys in this one are just what you need when you're craving something hot and hearty. And although this classic Provençal seafood stew has been around for hundreds of years, it's able to roll with changing times. Just take a look at Dessirier, Le Laumière and La Table Des Oliviers' offerings if you don't believe us.
When we talk about authentic bouillabaisse, there's a lot going on. Alongside three varieties of rockfish – as well as shellfish and sometimes lobster – you'll find a fish broth packed with vegetables. It doesn't stop there though, this complex ingredient formula is then fragranced with saffron and cayenne pepper and simmered away. Nowadays though, it tends to be more about what fish catch the chef's eye at the market – as well as their personal taste – for contemporary takes on the classic.
Bouillabaisse was historically a humble dish made by fisherman from bony rockfish left over from markets – they would boil them along with shellfish in a pot, simply seasoning with fennel and garlic. The hearty broth that we know and love today was rustled up when restaurants got in on the fun – they knew the fisherman were onto something good here – so they subbed in fish stock, added in some saffron and vegetables, and the rest is history.
Its name literally comes from the verbs that describe the cooking method – bolhir (boil) and abaissar (reduce heat). So, when things are just kicking off, the fish stock is immediately brought to the boil, and each time more fish or veggies are added, the temperature drops until it returns to the boil once more. Rinse and repeat.
They keep things traditional at Dessirier with their Soupe De Poissons De Roche Et Moules. Here you'll find fish and shellfish simmered in a luxurious broth, met with potatoes that delightfully soak up the intense flavours of the saffron. At Le Laumière, they offer up more of a rich stew, served with grilled slices of bread ready to dunked into that fragrant sauce. If you're too fancy to dip, you can always spread them with the traditional saffron and cayenne mayonnaise. This one truly is hearty comfort food at its finest.
La Table Des Oliviers bring a taste of the seaside to the heart of Paris with their La Bouillabaisse du Sud. They bundle in rascasse, daurade royale and bar fish in their slowly simmered concoction, so you get a bowlful that really packs in the flavour.
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