Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Alain Allegretti's Provencal Fish Soup

The restaurant Allegretti is simply my favorite of the year and I wrested this incredible fish soup recipe from the proprietor, Alain Allegretti. I don't like soup for dinner ordinarily and I didn't like the bouillabaisse too much in Marseilles, but this fish dish demands a standing ovation! Extraordinary!

Provencal Fish Soup (I don't know how many it serves; just make it and have everybody get in line!)

1/4 bottle white wine, reduced by half
olive oil
2 lb Red Snapper, Monkfish, Cod, and Porgies, filleted (reserve bones)
1 lb Blue Crab
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot
1 garlic head
16 oz canned plum tomatoes (drain and reserve liquid)
8 oz Pernod
½ oz saffron
water (to cover)
chicken stock (to cover)
1 Idaho potato, peeled and diced
3 basil leaves
3 black Peppercorns
1 star anise
½ lb fennel stalks
1 oz salt

large pot
food mill
china cap

1. Reduce 1/4 bottle of white wine by half and set aside.
2. In a new pan, add olive oil to cover the bottom and heat until smoking hot.
3. Add the fish, their bones, and the crab to the heated pan. Lower the heat to medium-high. Sear all sides of the fish and remove. Flip the crab, and roast the bones until they have good color. Remove all and drain the oil.
4. Add fresh oil, fennel, onion, carrot, and garlic to that same pan, and sweat all until translucent. 5. Add drained tomatoes and caramelize. Then reintroduce the bones to the pot.
6. Add Pernod and saffron, and reduce.
7. Add reduced white wine and reduce entire mixture again.
8. Add chicken stock and water to cover. Place potatoes, basil, peppercorns, anise, and fennel stalk in a cheesecloth, tie and add it to the soup with salt.
9. Simmer for 1½ hours.
10. Remove all solids and run them through a food mill, then recombine with the liquid and strain through a china cap
11. Skim the fat as the soup settles. Or place the container of soup in an ice water bath to shock it and make it easier to skim.

½ cup fish soup (above)
1 Idaho potato, peeled and sliced
10 garlic cloves
1 pinch saffron
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
olive oil
canola oil
white pepper

1. Heat the fish soup with the potato, six cloves of garlic, and saffron.
2. Remove the potato and garlic and crush them, then reintroduce them to the soup.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the mustard and the egg yolk. Then drizzle in olive and canola oil and mix it as you would a mayonnaise.
4. Chop the remaining four cloves of garlic very fine, and add it to the mix.
5. Mix the soup and potato mixture with the mayonnaise. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve soup with rouille, grated gruyere, and garlic rubbed croutons.

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