Australian Bouillabaisse served with Aioli and Croutons
Bouillabaisse is a traditional dish from the French region of Provence. The word ‘bouillabaisse’ is a contraction of 2 verbs, bouillir (to boil) and abaisser (to reduce). In fact, Bouillabaisse is more a method of rapid cooking than an actual recipe.
Bouillabaisse was originally cooked on the beach by fishermen, who used a large cauldron over a wood fire to cook their freshly caught fish.
In this recipe, we have decided to add an Australian feel by adding Bundaberg Rum instead of Pernod and lemon myrtle instead of the traditional Herbes de Provence.
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2-2.5 kg mixed fish.
In this recipe we have selected a mix of Flathead and Ling fillets
6 fresh Oysters
12 raw green prawns in shell
(king or tiger prawns can also be used)
1 onion diced
1 celery stick diced
1 red capsicum deseeded, diced
½ green capsicum deseeded, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tin of all tomatoes (400g) 1 litre of fish stock
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp of Rum (we have used Bundaberg Rum)
1 dried bird’s eye chilli, deseeded, finely sliced
1 pinch of saffron strands
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ tsp dried lemon myrtle
1 bay leaf
Prepare the fish: pin bone the fillets and cut them into large, uniform pieces.
If you open the oysters yourself, make sure you reserve both the oysters and the liquor from their shells.
Peel and devein the prawns making sure to leave the tails in tact. Discard the prawn heads and shells.
In a large casserole, heat the oil and add the onion, celery, capsicums, garlic and chilli. Crumble the saffron strands in your fingers and add to the vegetables. Cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables are softened and lightly browned.
Add the parsley, lemon myrtle, bay leaf, tomatoes, fish stock and seasonings.
Stir to mix and bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Bring the liquid back to the boil, then add the pieces of fish.
It is recommended to add the pieces of oily fish first before adding the white fish on the top.
Boil rapidly for about 8 minutes, stirring gently once or twice.
Add the prawns and cook for a couple of more minutes.
Add the oysters and their liquor at the last minute.
Remove the casserole from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the Rum and taste to adjust the seasonings.
Serve the bouillabaisse hot with grated cheese, croutons and aioli on the side. The aioli can be added to the soup to taste or spread on to the croutons.
Additional note: we have used tinned tomatoes as fresh ones were not in season. When in season, use the same quantity of fresh tomatoes. Peel and chop the tomatoes before adding them to the stew.