most all recipes have you do bouillabaisse for the whole of the third infantry, four kilo of fish, a kilo is a good two point two pounds, one live octopus, etc, etc. live octopus always makes me think of 'the dream of the fishermans wife' by masami teraoka. i do get diverted.
so, off i go to my fish monger, asking for monk fish, shrimp, clams, squid, unagi, tako, snapper, pike, salmon, halibut, cod, a mere once around the sea food counter. each kind in the smallest amount, like four shrimp, six clams, eight squid, a third of a pound each of the fish. a fish head for broth. i am a pain, but he is so willing and helpful.
groceries now, all at the same uwajimaya, fragrant orange, keefer lime leaf, garlic, onions, mushrooms and tomato paste, fennel bulb, fresh ginger. oh, and after reading the times i'll just have to get the new, improved, all natural, unrefined, cold pressed, extra-virgin and organic coconut oil. solid at room temp, melts at 76 degrees and is said to last in excess of ten years, all without 'fridgidation. tscheesers.
it is work. i like to cook items separate, but from the same pan. frying, steaming in a ladle of sake, the pan's liquid becoming a gradual melange of flavors from the various fish. once a fish is done lightly, shrimp peeled, all goes in one bowl set aside. meanwhile the fish head makes broth, once done, add soy, sesame oil, in go mussels and clams, once open, drained and shelled and set aside in a bowl, liquid strained, keefer lime leaf in for a few minutes, long enough to barely fragrance, ginger grated, ditto orange, and added, broth set on very low, hardly simmering. add a squeeze of tomato paste, correct for taste. now, roast garlic, set aside, continue with chopped fennel in same oil (the coconut stuff) add sliced mushrooms, minced onions, a little sake de-glaces the pan.
ladle everything into the slow simmering broth. make some white bread croutons, half roasted in butter, the other in above oil. taste the difference. serve the stew's ingredients in warmed bowls, top with finely chopped chinese parsley and your choice of croutons. eat the soup and drink some wine, have a foodie conversation, near the fire, it is after all a cold and rainy night. do an after dinner chocolate, the single malt and ravish a cuban, you worked hard concocting that stew. it may sound corny, but listen to lipatti's mozart concerto no. 21, at least the andante. take note of the very slow approach, so viennese, so soothing. yes?