maandag 11 augustus 2014

Elizabeth David

French Provinal Cooking 3

Every French gastronomic writer and cook for the past hundred years (and some before that) have expounded their theories upon the dish so beloved of the Mareillais, and each one of them gives his own recipe - the only authentic one. And, however many Marseillais, Toulonnais, Antibois or other natives of Provence you ask for the correct recipe, you will never get the same instructions twice.

There is no authentic bouillabaisse without white wine, you are told; it is a heresy of the most deadly kind to add white wine; the best bouillabaisse includes a langouste and mussels; langouste and mussels are only added in Paris because they haven't the other requisite fish; you must rub the croûtons with garlic; you must on no account rub the croûtons with garlic, and so on and so on.

(1) It is useless attempting to make a bouillabaisse away from the shores of the Mediterranean. All sorts of variations can be and are devised in other parts of the world, but it would be foolish to pretend that these have more then a remote relationship to the true bouillabaisse.
(2) The fish must be spanking fresh from the sea, and of diverse kinds, The rascasse is essential, and the fish is always served with its head. If langouste is included, this is cut in half lengthways and served in its shell. Mussels, if part of a bouillabaisse, are likewise left in their shells.
(3) Olive oil and saffron are equally essential.
(4) Furious boiling, so that the olive oil and the water (or wine if you are a heretic) amalgate, is another absolute essential of the success of the dish.
(6) The Toulonnais sometimes add potatoes (a practice which appals a Marseillais). The potatoes are best cut (raw) into thin rounds and added at the same time as the soft fish.
(7) A bouillabiasse is not intended to be a soup. There should merely be enough of the broth, fused with the olive oil by the very rapid boiling, to produce a generous amount of moistening for the slices of bread.