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(Provencal Fish Stew made with Irish fish)

1 lb. Monkfish with bone and skin
1 lb. Hake or Cod again with Bones and Skin
1 Large Mackerel on the Bone
2 lbs Mussels (well scrubbed and bearded)
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 Head Garlic
1 tsp. Fennel Seeds
1 tsp. chopped fresh Parsley
1 tsp. chopped fresh Thyme
2 tbs. Tomato Puree
2 tbs. Pernod
1 14 oz. Tin chopped Tomatoes
2 lbs Ripe Vine Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
2 pts Water
3 heads Fennel
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Pinch Saffron
Grated zest 1 Orange
A bowl of Aioli made with 2 cloves Garlic,2 Egg yolks and 8 oz. Olive Oil

Fillet and skin all the fish (or get your fishmonger to do this and give you the trimmings).
Cut the fish into bite sized pieces and keep in the fridge (Be particularly careful to remove all bones from the Mackerel).
Put all the bones and skin into a pot with 1 tbs of olive oil and fry them together gently for 5 mts.
Add the mussels to the pot.
Put on a lid and continue cooking-shaking the pot from time to time until all the mussels open and yield their juices to the bones.
Remove the mussels carefully with a slotted spoon, discard the shells and reserve the mussel meat somewhere cool.
Add a pint of water to the pot,bring to the boil and boil for 15 mts.
Strain and reserve the stock.

Peel and chop the garlic and put into a large pot with the olive oil, the fennel seeds and the herbs.
Sweat for a few mts. and then add tomato puree, the tinned tomatoes, the chopped vine tomatoes, the remaining pint of water and the reserved fish stock.
Bring this to the boil and boil for 45 mts.
At this stage you need to turn the soup into a rough puree.
You can do this by putting in a hand blender in the soup, giving the soup a whizz in the food processor or just break down the lumps with a potato masher.

Slice the fennel into slivers (reserve any feathery tops) and put into the soup back on the heat.
Boil this gently for about 20 mts until the fennel is soft.

This is the preparation stage of the soup over.
You can prepare up to this stage up to a day in advance.

Before you serve.
Re-heat the soup up to simmering gently.
Add all the raw fish and continue to simmer until just cooked through (about 6 mts.)
Add the cooked mussels to reheat and ladle into large soup bowls.
Sprinkle with Orange zest and chopped Fennel fronds (if there were any)
and stir teaspoon of Aioli into each one.

This is certainly not a soup that could be used as a starter.
Best served with plenty of crisp bread.

April 14, 2006 09:11 PM | 0 Comments
  Martin Dwyer
Consultant Chef