This month the Culture and Cuisine Club features the bubbly and perennially fun Carol Wyer. Carol is an award-winning author of three books including the newly released “How Not to Murder Your Grumpy.” Carol currently resides in the United Kingdom. Throughout her life she has traveled extensively, and she successfully adds a cultural richness to her writing. She spends a great deal of time in her adopted country, France, with her husband. Lucky lady!
In Carol’s own words, here is her recipe for a luscious Bouillabaisse.
I am a terrible cook. Honestly, I really am. Whatever I cook has to be simple. One of my greatest achievements was cooking a Bouillabaisse for a group of ten people, when I lived in Casablanca. It was my turn to host the monthly expat dinner party and rather foolishly I asked the guests what they would like to eat. One of them, a French girl, suggested Bouillabaisse because she missed France. The others thought this was a great idea and so I had to find out pretty quickly how to make it.
I asked the French girl how to cook it since she came from Marseille, considered the Mecca of Bouillabaisse, and knew what to do. The morning of the dinner party, I drove down to the far side of Casablanca along with half the city to purchase the ingredients fresh off the boats as they pulled in. I rode back to the apartment at breakneck speed on my VeloSolex bike with clams and shellfish wheezing in plastic bags dangling from my bike handles, followed the recipe and voila! That night my culinary dish was applauded and the French girl told me it was some of the best Bouillabaisse she had ever eaten. I have made the dish quite a few times since, adapting it to suit where I live and what I can purchase, but you really need to get very fresh fish to make it ultra tasty..
Hubby doesn’t like shellfish so I haven’t cooked it in a long while, but I still have that crumpled up piece of paper with the recipe scrawled on it just in case I ever get asked to cook it again.
In Marseille they use at least seven types of fish in a Bouillabaisse. If you can’t get extremely fresh fish – caught and cooked the same day – then use quick frozen fish. That’ll be fish frozen on the day it was caught. You can use almost any combination of fish you fancy and use as many different types of fish as you can. The bouillabaisse is often served with a spicy sauce. It is up to you if you want to make it or not. (I didn’t.)
- 3 pounds of at least 3 different kinds of fish fillets, fresh or quick frozen (thaw first)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1-2 pounds of oysters, clams, or mussels
- 1 cup cooked shrimps, crab, lobster meat, or rock lobster tails
- 1 cup thinly sliced onions
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 large tomato, chopped, or 1/2 cup canned tomatoes
- 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
- 4 stalks thinly sliced celery
- 1 teaspoon of fennel seed
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 whole cloves
- Zest of half an orange
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fish broth
- 2 Tbps lemon juice
- 2/3 cup white wine
- Sliced French bread
Ingredients for Sauce Rouille (Not compulsory.)
- 1 Tbsp hot fish stock
- 2 cloves peeled garlic
- 1 small red hot pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup soft white bread in small pieces
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Put hot fish stock or clam broth into a blender. Add garlic and red hot pepper, salt and bread. Blend until very smooth. Add olive oil slowly and stop the blending as soon as the oil disappears. At serving time, serve the sauce Rouille in a little bowl next to the bouillabaisse. It is strong so don’t use much! Don’t put more than ½ teaspoon into your soup.
1 Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large saucepan. When it is hot, add onions and shallots. Sauté for a minute, then add crushed garlic, and sweet red pepper. Add tomato, celery, and fennel. Stir the vegetables into the oil with a wooden spoon until well coated. Then add another 1/4 cup of olive oil, thyme, bay leaf, cloves and the orange zest. Cook until the onion is soft and golden but not brown.
2 Cut fish fillets into 2-inch pieces. Add the pieces of fish and 2 cups of water to the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add your shellfish, crabmeat, lobster tails.
3 Add saffron (it was ridiculously inexpensive in Morocco so I added a generous portion), salt, pepper. Add fish broth, lemon juice, and white wine. Bring to a simmer again and cook about 5 minutes longer.
4 At serving time place a thick slice of crusty French bread in each bowl. Spoon the bouillabaisse over the bread. If desired, serve with Sauce Rouille.
Serves 6 approximately.
Carol’s new novel, “How Not to Murder Your Grumpy” will be released on June 1, 2013.
Is your Grumpy Old Man getting under your feet? Is he wrestling with retirement? Are you wondering if you should bundle him up and entrust him to basket-weaving classes? Then this book could be the answer to your prayers. This light hearted guide is packed full of lively ideas, anecdotes and quips. Not only does it set out to provide laughs, but offers over 700 ideas and ways to keep a Grumpy Old Man occupied. From collecting airline sick bags to zorbing, you will be sure to find an absorbing pastime for your beloved curmudgeon. There are examples of those who have faced extraordinary challenges in older age, fascinating facts to interest a reluctant partner and innovative ideas drizzled, of course, with a large dollop of humor. Written tongue-in-cheek, this book succeeds in proving that getting older doesn’t mean the end of life or having fun. It provides amusing answers to the question, “How on Earth will my husband fill in his time in his retirement?” It offers suggestions on what might, or most certainly might not, amuse him. Ideal for trivia buffs, those approaching retirement, (or just at a loose end) and frustrated women who have an irritable male on their hands, this book will lighten any mood and may even prevent the odd murder.
You can find this book in both the UK and in the US in book shops and on Amazon. To find out more about Carol and her books please check out the following links:
Links to sites and purchase links for book.