recipe: Bouillabaisse - seafood soup provides instant aromatherapy
Peggy Lampman | Contributor
My custom concocted aromatherapy treatment is to deeply inhale the scent of fresh seafood simmering in a bath of saffron, garlic and fennel; otherwise known as Bouillabaisse; by any other name would smell as sweet.
Active time (not including stock preparation): 40 minutes
Simmer time: 40 minutes
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 fennel bulbs, cored, halved and sliced (reserve leafy fennel fronds for garnish)
4 1/2 cups fish stock*
1 can (28-ounce) crushed Italian plum tomatoes
12 raw jumbo shrimp
12 dry-packed scallops
2 pounds monkfish, filleted and cut diagonally into 3-inch strips
Grated zest of one orange
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, optional
1. Crumble saffron threads into wine and let steep.
2. In a heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Sauté leeks with a pinch of kosher salt, about 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, fennel seeds and sliced fennel and sauté an additional 2 minutes, stirring. Add stock and simmer 5 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, with liquid, and saffron-wine mixture. Stir and let simmer 30 minutes. (This can be made up to 36 hours in advance at this point.) Place monkfish pieces in hot broth and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in shrimp and scallops and simmer until just cooked through, an additional 5-8 minutes. Stir in orange zest and season to taste with cayenne and kosher salt.
4. Ladle into bowls, garnish with fresh basil, if using, and reserved fennel fronds.
*If time allows, making your own seafood stock (or purchasing scratch-made stock from Monohan’s) is worth the effort. I have made and enjoyed bouillabaisse using bottled clam juice or mixing a seafood base (such as Better than Bouillon) with water for the stock.