Bourride. Fish Soup

A Mediterranean classic that you will find in Provence and Languedoc, bourride is a fish stew made with white fish and served with rouille and crusty bread. I wanted to recreate the most delicious thin fish broth I had in Le Chalut in Port Vendre, by Collioure, served with rouille (aioli with garlic and saffron) and slices of crusty bread. This particular recipe creates a burst of flavors and it can be served as broth or puree, or as traditional fish stew, similarly to Bouillabaisse.

Since I was looking for a thin broth, I've strained the soup and served only the broth, just as I tasted it Le Chalut.

Level: difficult
Serves: 8
Makes in: 2 hours
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ cups dry white wine
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 2 lb. skinless firm white fish, such as halibut or monk fish, pin bones removed
  • 10 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
  • ½ tsp. saffron threads
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. minced parsley
  • Toasted baguette, for serving
For the rouille
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150ml (5fl oz) olive oil
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 tsp tomato purée
  • lemon juice 
  1. Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add fennel, cayenne, garlic, leeks, onions, tomatoes, and bay leaf; cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Add wine; simmer until reduced by half, 4–5 minutes. Add stock and 2 cups water; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until broth is slightly reduced, 12–15 minutes. Strain broth; return to saucepan over medium heat. Add fish, shrimp, saffron, salt, and pepper; cook until fish is firm and shrimp are pink, 2–3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, divide fish and shrimp between 6 bowls.
  2. For the rouille, put the garlic into a pestle and mortar with some salt and grind to a purée. The salt acts as a good abrasive. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the yolks, then start adding the oil drop by drop, beating all the time (use a wooden spoon or an electric hand beater). The mixture should thicken as you add the oil. Stir in the cayenne. Add the tomato purée, then lemon juice to taste. Add more lemon juice or cayenne if you want.
  3. Serve the soup hot, offering bowls of gruyère, toasted baguette, and rouille on the side. 

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