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Rich Bouillabaisse

This very old recipe was originally cooked in a pot balanced on three stones, and was a poor dish designed to make the most of cheap, common ingredients. It is almost impossible to make authentic bouillabaisse other than in the south of France, because the rascasse and other Mediterranean rock fish that are traditionally used in its making are just not available elsewhere. This 'rich' version - Bouillabaisse Riche - uses monkfish instead, which has fewer bones, but you can adapt the recipe to any kind of fish or shellfish.

ingredients

serves 6
4 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed, peeled and diced
2 onions, diced
2 leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
3 sticks of celery, finely sliced
1 bulb of fennel, trimmed and diced
1 tbsp flour
2 bay leaves
a sprig of thyme
a pinch of saffron
2 x 410 g tins chopped tomatoes
1 litre fish stock
600 g monkfish, trimmed and cut into 6 portions
6 scallops, cleaned
6 large raw prawns
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a good bunch of chives, finely chopped

method

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, onions, leeks, celery and fennel, and saute over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently - do not allow them to brown.

2. Sprinkle in the flour and blend it in to absorb any excess oil, then add the bay leaves, thyme, saffron and tomatoes and mix well. Pour in the fish stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add the monkfish, scallops, prawns and seasoning, cover with a lid, and simmer very gently for 10 minutes.
Just before serving, add the chives. Serve the bouillabaisse in large soup bowls.

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