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JULIA: Look at this magnificent head.
It'’’s from a giant cod.
And here is a hake frame.
We'’’re gonna do fish soup and bouillabaisse today on The French Chef.
♪ ♪ Welcome to The French Chef.
I'’’m Julia Child.
Today we'’’re going to do fish soup and bouillabaisse.
Bouillabaisse is probably one of the most famous of all French soups.
It originated on the Mediterranean coast of France in Marseille.
And all it is, really, is a plain fisherman'’’s stew made out of the day'’’s catch or the unsalable leftovers.
Unfortunately, when you get a famous recipe like this, the gourmets get hold of it, and they fancy it up so much and say do this, do that or that'’’s not the real thing, that us ordinary people feel that it'’’s impossible to do and terribly expensive.
But you can make a bouillabaisse out of any kind of fresh, lean fish that you want.
And it'’’s wonderful to eat, and everybody enjoys making it and, particularly, eating it, and there'’’s nothing very difficult about it.
Now, the first thing that you do when you want to make a fish soup or a bouillabaisse is to make a great fish stock.
And we happen to live near a wonderful butcher and he gave me this enormous cod head, which you could make a beautiful soup out of.
And also, a hake frame.
In other words, the hake has been filleted and you'’’re left with this big frame of bones and a head.
And if you'’’re going to make a fish soup, you want to have, if possible, bones and trimmings from fresh fish, because the bones give a gelatinous or a body quality to the stock.
However, if you don'’’t have any fresh fish, you can always use canned or bottled clam juice, which you can get in any supermarket and I'’’ll tell you the proportions of that later.
Now, for the bouillabaisse, which has as typical flavorings tomatoes, olive oil, onions or leeks and herbs, you start out with about half a cup of olive oil.
We'’’re going to make about two and a half cups of soup.
Olive oil is a typical flavoring.
If you don'’’t like it, you could use a salad oil.
And then we'’’re going to use two cups of chopped onions.
Or you could use half onions and half leeks.
Leeks, unfortunately, seem a little bit difficult to get.
And then you let them cook for about five minutes or so until the onions have softened.
And I'’’m using a great, big, ordinary soup kettle here because it holds a lot, but this is the kind of a kettle that you can get anywhere.
And then, after the onions have cooked, you want to add tomatoes.
I'’’m gonna use about two cups of fresh tomatoes and they'’’re just chopped like that.
And to do that, you just take out the stem end there.
And then just cut the tomato roughly.
You don'’’t need to peel it or anything, '’’cause after you make your soup stock it'’’s going to be strained.
And if tomatoes are not in season, you can use a half cup of tomato paste or use some tomatoes and some tomato paste.
And then after your... when your onions have-- and-or leeks-- have become slightly tender and translucent, you put in your tomatoes.
Just dump them in.
And they should cook about five minutes, also, because the cooking in oil helps release their flavor and gives them more flavor.
And then we'’’ll go on to our herbs and seasoning while those are cooking.
We have... if you want to have the real Mediterranean flavor, you want to use the herbs that they have there.
We have here basil.
Now, this comes dried in a bottle and you should be able to get it at any supermarket.
And if they don'’’t have basil, you just ask them to get it.
Because all of these herbs are put out by the big spice houses.
These are dried basil leaves.
It'’’s also an herb that you can grow very nicely yourself in the garden if you have a sunny place.
Now, here is fennel.
That'’’s very typical of Marseille and the Mediterranean region.
These are little seeds and they have a very slight anise flavor.
If you'’’ve ever had Pernod, the aperitif, it'’’ll remind you of this.
And then a little dried orange peel.
This, you just take a vegetable peeler, and peel the orange and then let the skin dry on a paper towel for a day or two.
And if you can'’’t get that or if they'’’re out of season, you can get bottled, dried orange peel that comes like that.
And then the third... or rather, I guess that'’’s the fifth thing we have is saffron.
You know, they'’’re just little, tiny sort of little springs.
They'’’re the dried saffron flower that comes from Spain, and it always comes in a little package, like medicine.
And if you use too much of it, it does taste like medicine.
The way you use it is just in pinches.
And we'’’re gonna use two pinches.
When you pinch, it means how much you can take up with your thumb and finger.
You can take a little pinch like that or a great, big pinch.
We'’’re gonna use two large pinches.
And you be very careful about using saffron.
Sometimes you'’’ll see a recipe that will say use a half teaspoon of it.
And that... it would just taste like medicine if you did that.
And I'’’m gonna use about a good teaspoon of basil and about half a teaspoon of fennel.
This is a rather strong and characteristic flavor, so you don'’’t want too much of it.
And I'’’ll use two one-inch pieces of orange peel.
Then I'’’ll put the rest of that in there.
And then we have garlic.
I'’’m gonna stir this up now to be sure that that...
It'’’s already beginning to smell wonderfully like Marseille.
And then garlic, which is very important always.
This is the whole garlic, and it breaks itself down into garlic cloves... like that.
And you use about, oh, a good half bud of garlic.
And you don'’’t have to peel it or anything.
Just take a big knife and chop it down.
And put that in.
That seems like a lot of garlic, but when it'’’s cooked down, you'’’ll never even notice it.
You know that something lovely is there, but all of that very strong flavor goes out.
And now after that, it'’’s cooked nice.
You can see the tomatoes and the onions are nicely mixed up.
Then you add your fish.
And I'’’m going to use this big hake head.
And all you need to... You can get your fish man to chop it or you can chop it yourself.
You just go wham!
Guess I'’’ll have to wham it with another one.
Now, one thing: be sure, when you'’’re using a fish head, that you have the gills taken out.
I'’’ll show you on this enormous cod head.
Those are the gills.
And they fit right in under here.
This is nice, having a giant thing so you can see how they are.
See, they fit right in there, and what they are are very little thin... little feelers, and they collect... it'’’s sort of they act like a sieve, and so they often have impurities and things in them.
It'’’s hard to clean.
So be sure to have the gills removed when you'’’re going to use fish heads.
Now I'’’ll finish chopping up our... Then our hake head goes in.
You want about, oh, four or five pounds of bones and fish trimmings, if possible, because that'’’s what is going to give a wonderful flavor to your soup.
And if you don'’’t have fish trimmings like this, you can use your canned clam juice.
And you would use... We'’’re gonna use two and a half quarts of water, so you would use a quart of canned clam juice and a quart and a half of water.
So in goes our water.
We want just enough to cover our fish heads and trimmings there.
And then we want salt.
And the proportions for salt are one and a half teaspoons per quart of water.
And if you'’’re using clam juice, that'’’s already salty, so you be very careful about adding any extra salt to that.
So, we have two and a half quarts of water, so I will add about... a tablespoon and a little over of salt.
Then that'’’s to come to a rapid boil, and you skim it off a little when some scum arises, and then it should cook for about 40 minutes.
You don'’’t have to watch it once it'’’s started to come to the slow boil.
And the reason you want it to boil is so that the olive oil is completely mixed up with your soup stock.
So I have some that'’’s already made.
So I'’’m gonna move this down to the back burner.
And then put this one over here.
Now, after you think that you'’’ve simmered the best out of your soup stock... out of your fish stock, you then strain it.
And then you taste it very carefully for seasoning.
Because you want it to be absolutely perfect at this point.
Once you'’’ve got your fish stock made, then you'’’re gonna boil your fish in it, and you don'’’t want to fuss around with it afterwards.
So be sure to taste it.
It should be absolutely perfect at this point.
And that is, '’’cause I already had tasted it before.
But you may find you might want a little more tomato flavoring.
In that case, you could add a tablespoon or so of tomato paste, and then simmer it.
And now, once you'’’ve got your stock all strained and ready to go, you'’’re ready to add your fish.
And you can make your stock way ahead of time.
Now, I'’’ll get our fish.
I'’’ve got... Luckily, we had good weather, so I was able to get a tremendous collection of fish.
We have mussels and clams.
And here is a striped bass.
You want to be sure that you get lean fish for your bouillabaisse.
You don'’’t want anything like mackerel or tuna.
And there is a porgy.
And we have here these cute little sunfish.
Those can go in just as they are.
They can go in whole.
And there'’’s a perch.
And here is a halibut.
And here'’’s a slice from that giant cod, whose head you saw, it'’’s just enormous.
And we also... Eel is extremely good.
And for some reason, most people say "ugh" when they see an eel, but it'’’s one of the best, best fish for a bouillabaisse.
In fact, you could make a bouillabaisse entirely of eel.
But if you catch the eel yourself, You'’’ll have to skin it yourself.
It isn'’’t difficult to do.
It'’’s awfully slippery.
So you nail its head to a board, And then you cut around here to get all the skin loosened.
And then you take a piece of pliers, and you just loosen the skin, and it peels all the way down, rather like a glove.
It sticks a little bit there and a little bit there, but that'’’s easily taken care of.
And then, after you peel it, you slit it up and clean out the visceral matter.
And there you have a nice peeled piece of eel.
Now, you don'’’t have to have all of this variety of fish at all.
When we were living in Norway, I made delicious bouillabaisse with just some halibut and some cod and hake.
Or you can use just hake or just halibut.
But you have a more interesting taste if you use quite a number of fish.
And if you'’’re a fisherman, you can be sure, if you find some... catch some rockfish like this, these are wonderful for bouillabaisse.
In Marseille, they use what they call a rascasse, which looks rather like that.
Out on the Pacific Coast, they do have one of the real families of rascasse.
This is a short-horned sculpin.
But there are all kinds of rockfish that are extremely good for bouillabaisse, so don'’’t throw them away, keep them.
And now to prepare the fish...
This can also be done ahead of time.
If you have your large pieces, like this... And what you always want, if you can, is to have some gelatinous fish, of which halibut is one, and some of the flounders are gelatinous.
And there is a great big sea eel called a conger eel, which is about that big around.
And that has the gelatinous quality.
And that will give more body to your stock.
But you take a slice of fish like this, and you just whack it.
You see, always, this is in the keeping with a... a fisherman'’’s soup.
So things are not boned.
I have some... some that I'’’ve gotten already prepared, but I just wanted you to see how it worked.
And the gelatinous fish, or the big pieces, like the cod, go in first.
You have your stock rapidly boiling, and then you just put your fish in.
Because it takes these big pieces and the more gelatinous ones a little longer to cook.
It takes about ten minutes in all.
And then you have your... your more flimsy fish, of which the porgy is an example.
You cut the tail off.
And these trimmings you would save to make your fish stock with, '’’cause you can get your fish all ready ahead of time.
And then you cut the fins off.
And then you cut that.
See their little... all these little fins everywhere.
And you cut them off with a big pair of shears.
And then you whack off the head.
I'’’m just gonna add these to our fish stock here.
And then the rest of it you just cut it in crossways slices, like that.
Be sure to get a big, sharp, heavy knife.
Now, if you want to, you can use lobsters and crabs.
Of course, if you'’’re gonna make a very fancy soup, you'’’d use lobsters, but that'’’s not particularly typical of a fisherman'’’s soup.
Now, these you wait for about five minutes till you add.
And now these little... cute little... these little fish you add whole, but you cut off the tail... and you cut off all these little fin parts.
And be sure that the fish are all scaled first and thoroughly cleaned, and that you'’’ve gotten the gills out.
And leave the heads on.
That'’’s-that'’’s very European, and a lot of Americans are sort of finicky about leaving the heads on.
But they look much prettier if you do.
And then we have our perch.
You can cook that whole if you want, so I think I shall.
Now, you can make a bouillabaisse also with frozen fish fillets, and it'’’s perfectly good.
You just have to be sure that it'’’s good and fresh-smelling.
And you can always tell how the fish is by smelling it.
Now, those are all ready.
And now, if you want to use mussels... Got to put on my glasses so I can see this.
Now, mussels, a lot of people don'’’t-don'’’t eat, but they'’’re perfectly delicious.
They'’’re really... they'’’re called the poor man'’’s oyster.
And when you... You can collect them any place in the open sea water.
But be sure that before you collect mussels, you find out whether these are... this is a place where you can collect them from.
Because it should be open, clear seawater.
And when you get them, you scrape them off with a knife.
And then you notice there'’’s a little beard there.
And that you just cut off.
And then you put them in a bucket of water and do like that every once in a while and let them soak for about two hours.
And that gets rid of the excess salt, and they de-gorge their sand.
And these you add at the last five minutes.
If you'’’re going to use lobster, you would put the... chop up a live lobster and put it in along with your gelatinous fish.
Now, this has cooked for just about five minutes, so it'’’s time to add the other fish.
So here we have our porgy and there'’’s our whole perch and there'’’s that cute little butterfish.
And you can put sea scallops in if you want to.
Actually, can just put in anything that you like.
I'’’ll put in another one of these.
I think I'’’m gonna have to add some more liquid, probably.
I'’’ll put in some more scallops, and these washed mussels and clams also go in at the same time.
And there'’’s our piece of eel.
And I think I'’’ll take a little bit of this stock here and put it in, '’’cause you want to have it just covered.
This will sink down a little bit, and that'’’s just about right.
And be sure that you cook it at a fast boil because you want the olive oil and everything to keep mixing up with it.
As you can see how terribly quick this is to do once you have gotten all of your fish cleaned and your stock made.
And I'’’ll put this over to the side.
We'’’ve really got enough bouillabaisse to feed an army today, but I wanted you to see all the various fish.
Then we have what we'’’re gonna serve it in: a large platter.
This really makes a full meal.
And we have parsley, and then we have... Do you remember when we did our onion soup way back?
We had these, what were called croûtes.
This is French bread cut about three-quarters of an inch thick and then set on a roasting pan and dried out in a 325 oven until it is hard through.
And we put those in the bottom of our soup tureen.
And then the soup goes over that when it'’’s done.
And we also have parsley, which we'’’ll be using as well.
Now let'’’s see how our fish is doing.
That'’’s coming along.
You see, it takes...
When you get your stock all made, and your fish all cleaned and cut up, you can refrigerate your fish with a wax paper over them, and then allow about 20 to 25 minutes before you'’’re gonna serve.
Bring your stock rapidly to the boil, and then add your firm-fleshed fish and the lobsters, if you'’’re using, and then put in the flimsy fish and boil for another about five minutes or until it'’’s just done.
So it only takes about 25 minutes to do.
And remember that you don'’’t have to use any fancy fish, that you can use all cod or all hake, but you'’’re going to get a more interesting bouillabaisse if you use a large variety of lean fish.
I think that'’’s just about done.
The mussels haven'’’t quite opened.
You can tell when it'’’s done by when the shellfish have opened.
In Marseille, there'’’s all...
In France, there'’’s all kinds of lore about bouillabaisse.
Now, as to what does bouillabaisse mean-- "Bouilla" or "bouillir" means "boil" and "baisse" means "low," but it doesn'’’t sound as though it were boiled low.
And then I read, somebody said maybe it was a bouilla... an abbess, or an abbasse.
I mean, a-- what is it-- a woman priest.
(chuckles) But it certainly doesn'’’t seem that it could possibly be that.
Nobody really knows what the origin of it is.
Now, that'’’s done.
So you take a big skimmer and you... arrange it on your platter.
See, there'’’s our little whole fish, which has remained whole.
Some of the flimsy fish break up in the soup, which is what you want it to do, because that'’’ll give it more body.
Now that little fish is broken up quite a bit.
This really, if you'’’ve ever traveled down in Marseille, this smell of olive oil and garlic and tomatoes is just terribly exciting.
Now, here we have some of our shellfish coming out.
You can see, this is a whole meal.
You can cook it perfectly well if you'’’re fishing out...
If you'’’re fishing, you can cook it perfectly well at the beach.
All you need is a big kettle.
The mussels are nice because they give a nice dark color.
That'’’s sort of an excitement.
Lobster'’’s awfully pretty, but it'’’s usually so expensive.
And, as you'’’ve seen, it just isn'’’t necessary to have.
Now sprinkle it liberally with parsley.
This is very coarsely chopped parsley.
And then you want to... You want to spoon a bit of the soup over it.
Just to moisten it.
And then you take your soup and just pour it into your tureen.
And be sure if you'’’re using mussels or shellfish that you don'’’t pour all of the remaining soup in, '’’cause there may be a little bit of sand in the bottom of your tureen.
There, now that'’’s ready to eat.
You see how quickly that was done.
It only took about, well, less than 15 minutes.
And we'’’re gonna use this as a main course supper dish.
And I'’’m gonna show you how to eat it, so you know how it goes.
Oh, I forgot the soup.
I'’’ll have to bring that back.
Now, what you want to be sure to have are great big bowls like this and a big plate for them to go on.
And you want finger bowls and you want a large napkin, like a double damask napkin you can put around you.
Then, you dip.
For each serving, you dip a selection of fish out.
There'’’s some halibut and there'’’s one of those nice little butterfish and some mussels and there'’’s a little bit of cod.
Then you spoon your soup over it and take out some of the bread, too.
Smells so good.
The wonderful thing is having really fresh-tasting fish.
And then, as this is gonna be a main course thing, we'’’ll put in a potato.
They go awfully well.
You just boil potatoes separately.
And then, to eat it, so you leave all the bones in, so you... with your... you use a soup spoon and a fork, and then you take your bone out.
I actually think it'’’s a good idea to have a little plate to put the bones in.
And then you just eat it like that.
And as for wine, we'’’ll have... we'’’re having a nice dry white Riesling, or you could use a rosé if you'’’d like.
And that really is a meal fit for a king.
So if you remember that you don'’’t have to use any fancy fish, as long as they are lean.
And next time, we'’’re gonna do some more fish, lobster.
Homard à l'’’américaine.
So that'’’s all for today on The French Chef.
This is Julia Child.
Bon appétit and bon bouillabaisse.
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH access.wgbh.org ♪ ♪ ANNOUNCER: Julia Child is co-author of the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
The French Chef is made possible by a grant from Safeway Stores.