food: bouillabaisse

I have determined we need to be more food-adventurous, plus, we need to eat more fish. With all the healthy benefits to fish, why do we not eat more of it?

I don’t know about your family, but we don’t really like the fishy taste of fish. I’m sure it’s all in how you were raised and how homey it feels to you, but we’re just not fish people.

So starting with bouillabaisse wasn’t the wisest choice. And, probably summing it up in a photo, here is the web’s worst photo of fish soup. Sorry, my camera was on the wrong setting. Sigh.

fishoup

That’s cod, shrimp, and scallops. All things which when separate are pretty good, but together. . . just too fishy. I used this recipe from allrecipe.com, and no, I did not buy five pounds of cod! I eyeballed the fish assortment and had the butcher give me just a little bit, because this stuff is too spendy to throw away.

While talking to the butcher, I asked about the shrimp because I have only one time bought fresh whole shrimp — and that time I did not know I had to devein the shrimp and the dish was a disaster. You know how some things are fantastic at restaurants but not so good at home? Shrimp seems to me one of those things. I deveined them this time, but it was messy and slimy and in the future I think I’ll stick to ready-to-go shrimp. The butcher explained that the other available shrimp was from China, and that the way they kept the price of the local shrimp down was to offer it whole. So I guess that’s a reason to learn to devein shrimp yourself. Next time, I’ll watch a youtube tutorial in advance, and then give it another go.

I substituted scallops for the mussels because the store didn’t have mussels. Scallops were passable in the bouillabaisse, but only because as far as fish go they don’t have a lot of flavor. The cod was okay, but all taken together it was just too much fish. My thought was, “Well, if you don’t like one, then just eat another.” But that didn’t really work.

Oh, and my soup base is so red because I used crushed canned tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes (a commenter in the recipe said this was the way to go, and I had a can on hand).

Still, as I was looking at the leftovers, I realized an easy fix: pull out the fish bits from the soup, refrigerate until tomorrow, and then mix the bits in with some hot salsa and there you have ready-to-go fish taco fixings. Perfect way to hide the fish!

Why be so food-adventurous? Have you been watching Hannibal? If not, go and watch all the episodes on hulu right now! I have to say watching the epicurean scenes makes me a bit ashamed of my presentation. Not to mention ingredients. Seriously. There’s some food that is just hard to live up to, but why not try? I think I can get behind seeing food as art.

My last-week’s attempt to make a new food, was bread pudding. Another fail. One time at a Mexican restaurant in Monterey, within walking distance of the beach where the divers meet, we were seated and eating those humungous burritos like all the taquerias serve, and at the end of the meal a waitress comes out and says, “You have to try the bread pudding,” and puts down two ramekins on the table. And I took a bite and said, “Why did I just eat that burrito when I could have been eating this?!” because it was the most wonderful bread pudding in the world. So I tried to make some, but it was not great.

breadpuddingpan

I used dried apples instead of fresh, and that was a mistake — or perhaps soak the dried for 20 minutes in advance. . . that might work. But what was really wrong was using regular milk, instead of cream or at least half-and-half. And I suspect the flavor that put that memory-bread-pudding over the top was a dash of rum. Or perhaps Grand Marnier? Maybe I will just have to try it both ways.

There’s so much memory in food, we might as well try to make them good memories. To wit: No more bouillabaisse! Bleah!

Do you have any recipes that hide the taste of fish? Please leave a comment!

One thought on “food: bouillabaisse

  1. I think tomatoes and fish do not mix. I don’t like bouillabaisse either. My favorite fish soup is a clear Chinese soup with diced tofu and leeks. Give this one a try and see what you think. You can use either fresh or frozen fish.

    1. Chop 1/2 lb white fish into largish bite-size pieces. Mix in 1 tsp each sake, sesame oil, and ginger juice (I use a squeeze of grated ginger instead), 1/3 tsp salt, 2 tsp corn starch. Let marinate while you continue.

    2. Cut 1/2 block of tofu into bite-size pieces. Cut 1/2 a leek or 1/2 large green onion into 4 cm pieces, then cut that in half lengthwise and break up the sections.

    3. Bring 5 cups dashi fish stock to a boil. If you don’t have fish stock granules, then chicken or vegetable would be fine too.

    4. Reduce heat to low and drop the fish in the soup one piece at a time. Add some more grated ginger to taste, perhaps 1/2 tsp. Increase heat to high and bring back to a boil. You can scoop off the scum if you want. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

    5. Add 1 or 2 tsp salt to taste. Add tofu and leeks and bring to a boil once more.

    6. Season to taste with a dash of sake and black pepper. (A little black pepper goes a long way. I put in too much last time and no one would eat it!)

    Also, I love bread pudding and always make it with skim milk and raisins and no apples. We have a lot of bread crusts around here as DD makes sandwiches for lunch with those presser things and cuts the crusts off. When I have a bag of crusts, I always make either bread pudding or croutons. 🙂

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