Provencal Fish Soup Recipe by Curious
A Dabble in Catering
Last summer I offered to cook a Provencal fish soup for a friend and their 12 friends…I like to make my life difficult…
Fish soup is taken seriously here in Provence. Bouillabaisse is the king of the various types of fish soups. This often takes 2 days to make, is very expensive, and would require filleting various types of different fish at the table. Not something I would be good at!
Bouillabaisse was originally a fish stew made by Marseillaise fishermen using the small, and wide variety of rockfish that were too small to sell. It’s this wide variety of fish that gives the soup its flavour. I watched some fishermen making the traditional version of Bouillabaisse at the market and I couldn’t believe all the different types of fish being thrown into the pot!
These fish were simmered for some time most likely in a well-used pot on the beach or boat. Everyone seems to have their own opinion to which fish should be in a Bouillabaisse but the absolute musts, according to my local fishmonger, are the Rascasse and St Pierre. Otherwise, there can be crab, turbot, monkfish, mullet, conger, hake, shellfish etc. You’ll even see Bouillabaisse royal or sexy Bouillabaisse? with lobster.
Despite its humble origins, Bouillabaisse will always be unique due to the addition of saffron and Mediterranean spices as well as the way in which it is served.