So, after finally having a day off with decent weather (no wind!) I decided to take a little fishing trip out on my kayak to fish for the classic rock fish, which frequent the coastline of Marseille and form the basis of the famous Marseille soupe de poisson.
I managed to get a rough idea of the recipe from several friends and members of my girlfriends family to give it a shot, so having gathered the other ingredients together I went about giving it my first attempt.
Firstly, I sweated 3 cloves of roughly shopped garlic and 2 chopped onions with some olive oil for around 20 mins. I also added a small amount of chopped ginger because I love it, but I couldn’t taste it in the final soup so I won’t bother again!
Next I added 5 roughly chopped tomatoes with the seeds removed, roughly chopped red pepper, bouquet garni and sweated some more, before I seasoned with salt and pepper and added 1.5 litres of water. This is supposed to be sea water, but I’m not sure that is very hygienic when you see half of what seems to floating around in there at present!
I simmered this on a low heat for another 25 mins.
I had managed to fish a variety of species that are perfect for the soup. The only species I was unable to catch which would have been perfect is the infamous Rascasse, but they are very difficult to catch.
From left to right… Sarran, Sarran royal, Sar, Pataclet, Girelle royal, Girelle, crénilabre & Roucaou.
I added the fish whole to the soup, except for the slightly larger once which I emptied and added. I then cooked this on a low heat for 25 mins, stirring occasionally until the fish had broken down in the stew. I then added Saffron and seasoned again.
I then filtered into a bowl, making sure to press down hard on the fish and veg solids to extract all the juice.
We tried the soup last night with Rouille covered croutons floating in the top. It was pretty good, but I might have to do a bit more research for next time, in order to get a stronger flavour from the soup. It feels like I’m missing something…
Here are a few photos taken from out on the fishing trip. The islands I was fishing close to are the two just off the tip of Endoume. One is called Degaby (with the small castle on top) and the other is just the isle of Endoume.
Here is French chef Raymond Blanc visiting Le Petit Nice in Marseille (which you may have seen in my previous posts) for his current ‘Hungry Frenchman’ series.
PS, Gerald Passedat (pronounced Pasta on the program!) That guy was born to be a chef surely!
I think it is time I come clean and face up to an addiction I have. Over the last few weeks I find myself constantly needing a fix. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night with only one thing on my mind. I really need help…
My addiction is not with Alcohol, Drugs, Gambling or Sex, however. I am addicted to the bread from my local boulangerie, specifically’La Benette’.
Sometimes I find myself unable to stop eating a Banette without finishing the whole thing in one sitting. Sometimes more than one. It goes perfectly with any Pâté , Frois Gras or Cheese. I really need help! It is just too good!
If you are ever in Marseille, and would like to experiment with this particular vice, I recommend my local Boulangerie. Click the image below, or go to the following address…
Now I am pretty sure I have mentioned before in previous posts of my undying love for French cooking. With a few days off last week I decided to attempt one of the most sacred of French dishes; Boeuf Bourguignon. Not only that but I decided to invite around my fiancés father to try it. He is infamous for not beating around the bush and telling you exactly what he thinks of something, no matter if it hurts your feelings slightly… what was I thinking?
After collecting the ingredients I researched the recipe on a number of different websites, both French and English. This instilled further fear in my mind as each seemed to follow totally different techniques, ingredients and cooking times. I decided to take a median of all of the them and ‘vibe it’ as I went along. Hmmmm.
I started off by cutting a trimming some prime beef cuts from my local Boucherie.
I then started on the marinade by heating some olive oil and added a large chopped onion, 3 carrots chopped into 3 inch chunks and 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic. I fried these for a few minutes, before adding 1 bottle of Burgundy wine. I chose a wine in the higher price range of my local wine shop, and tried to choose a wine which had a punchy strong flavour. In hindsight I should have consulted the wine merchant, as the flavour of the wine could have been a lot stronger.I will blame this on my poor French reading skills, when attempting to read the label descriptions!
I added to this a Bouquet Garni to infuse some more flavours. I then brought this to the boil, and simmered these for around 20 minutes, before removing from the heat and setting aside to cool.
I placed all the beef cuts evenly in a pot and, once the marinade had cooled I poured this over the beef. I then covered with cling film and placed in the fridge to marinade away. This sat in my fridge for around 36 hours in total.
This gave me a bit of time to burn, so with the weather fine I had a stroll down to Malmousque and Le Petite Nice, which is my closest beach at about 5 – 10 mins walk. Beautiful…
Around mid afternoon the next day I set about finishing off the Boeuf Bourguignon, ready for my difficult dinner guest that evening. I removed the marinated meat, and fished out the meat pieces from the sauce and left them to dry on some kitchen towel. Once dry I coated them in flour and fried them in a pan with a little oil and a pack of lardons (small cut bacon pieces). The idea is to seal the meat rather than fully cook it, so that it absorbs more flavour during the slow cook to follow. I then popped these in a large pan and reunited it with the sauce and started to bring this all back to the boil. Using the frying pan I then lightly fried 6 shallots, which I then added whole. Once this had heated to almost boiling point I dropped the heat and slow cooked this for around 4 hours.
With 1 hour to serving I added 6 small button mushrooms and tasted the sauce for seasoning. Once I was satisfied with the look and taste of the sauce, and the meat had reached the point where it fell apart very easily when poked by a fork I dropped the heat and cooked some past to accompany.
The meal went down better than expected, with the only criticism being the lack of seasoning and the use of a stronger flavoured wine. Pretty good I think. I hope I have changed some people’s opinions of the English having no clue about food!
Next week: Coq au vin… Or maybe not!!!