Monday, December 27, 2010


This week is packed with entertaining family and friends we didn't see over the Christmas holiday. My cousin and her family are stopping in tomorrow for lunch en route to Virginia and one of Nick's clients (they haven't seen each other for more than 30 years) will be visiting. We're also hoping to see our niece and nephews sometime this week. So check in later, because I know bouillabaisse won't be the only food that's coming out of my kitchen. For sure I'll be preparing my recipe for Fantasticca Focaccia, an all-time favorite, plus a whole lot more!

It seems like a festive time to prepare a big pot of bouillabaisse, the popular Mediterranean fish-based soup. Given the variety of fish, shellfish and stock that can successfully be used for preparing bouillabaisse, rather than choose from the many and varied recipes available, I opted to wing it and make my own rendition, (didn't jot down the amounts) here's what I did ...

In a large pot, I sauteed a generous amount of sliced leeks in a pool of olive oil, added garlic, tomatoes, (I used the tomatoes I'd preserved from the summer's harvest) diced potatoes and clam juice. I seasoned the mixture with salt, pepper and fresh minced parsley and cooked it until the potatoes were tender. I added cooked shrimp, lobster, cod and crab to the mixture.

When it comes time to serve, I'll ladle hot bouillabaisse over hard-toasted French bread rounds and top with a few steamed mussels and clams.

It's customary to serve bouillabaisse with rouille ... bread drenched in a liquid, (my rendition used olive oil) and combined with a spicy seasoning (I used cayenne pepper) salt and loads of garlic. It's mashed or pounded into a smooth paste. It's spicy, so best to serve buffet-style.