Monthly Archives: July 2012

My Secret Bouillabaisse Recipe

Patrick Smyth’s Thick Bouillabaisse Recipe

(French Provençal seafood stew)

Bouillabaisse is one of the great dishes of French Provençal cuisine. This recipe is simple and the key here is using top-notch ingredients, easily found in Vancouver. It is thicker than most classic recipes, but tastes awesome!

6 servings

Ingredients

Broth

  • Olive oil – 1/4 cup
  • White Onion, chopped – 1
  • Celery, chopped – 2 stalks
  • Garlic, minced – 4 cloves
  • Seafood bouillon cubes x 4 (optional)
  • Field Tomatoes, coarsely chopped – 1 pound
  • Fennel bulb – 1 chopped bulb
  • Orange peel (no white pith) – 1 piece, about 2 or 3 inches long chopped finely
  • Parsley – 6 sprigs
  • Fresh thyme – 2 sprigs
  • Salt – 2 teaspoons
  • Pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • Water – 2 quarts
  • White wine – 1 cup
  • Pernod – ¼ cup

Rouille

  • Red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded – 1
  • White Potato, cooked and peeled – 1 large
  • Garlic, crushed – 4 cloves
  • Serrano chile pepper, minced – ½ (less if you don’t like spicy)
  • Fresh basil – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
  • Olive oil – 1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon

To Finish

  • Fish and seafood (white fish (halibut), prawns, octopus, scallops, clams, mussels, crab — 2 to 3 pounds (NEVER use an oily fish like salmon) – 5 to 6 pounds NB – mixing it up is best
  • French bread or similar bake and serve bread sliced and toasted – 3 pieces per person

Method

  1. For the Broth: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium flame. Add the onions, celery and garlic and sauté slowly until the onions are wilted and translucent. Stir in all the remaining broth ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Adjust its seasoning with salt and pepper. (The recipe can be prepared up to this point and the broth kept in the fridge until needed.)
  3. For the Rouille: Place the roasted pepper, potato, garlic, chile pepper, basil, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor with a little of the broth from above. With the blender or processor running, gradually pour in the olive oil. Thin out the sauce a little with more of the broth if needed. The rouille should be thick but spreadable. Adjust seasoning and place in a small bowl. (best served warm)
  4. To Finish: Bring the broth to a simmer again over medium heat. Add the fish and seafood in batches, starting with the firmest fish first and ending with the most delicate seafood. Simmer until all the fish and seafood is cooked through, about 5 minutes. DO NOT overcook!!!
  5. To serve, Place a piece of each type of fish and seafood in each bowl and spoon the broth over all. Smear the rouille on bread and eat on the side as an accompaniment.

And there you have it – my favourite Bouillabaisse recipe!

Great Recipe for Spag Bol (spaghetti bolognese)

This morning we woke up to 12 degrees Celsius here in Vancouver, and immediately looked at the trees across from my patio to see if they were turning brown.  Had I slept through August and most of September?

So I started thinking about what to cook for dinner and came across the following great article found in the London Daily Telegraph.

While the dish has been a staple for millions of diners around the world for decades, Italians claimed the original recipe has become so corrupted it is in urgent need of culinary rescue.

Gourmands insist that the popular dish’s apparent simplicity is deceptive, and throw their arms up in dismay when they see chicken or turkey used as a substitute for the key ingredient, minced beef.

In an attempt to restore the integrity of the dish known to millions of British diners as “spag bol”, nearly 450 chefs in Italian restaurants in 50 countries cooked spaghetti bolognese on Sunday with authentic ingredients including pancetta, carrots, celery, onions, tomato paste and a dash of wine.

They had to conform to a recipe set down in 1982 by the chamber of commerce in Bologna – the home of bolognese.

Most people, particularly foreigners, get the recipe wrong from the very start, purists insist. Instead of spaghetti, they say it is tagliatelle that should be cooked to go with the rich meat and tomato sauce, making it “tag bol” rather than “spag bol”.

“Along with lasagne, spaghetti bolognese is the most abused Italian dish. There are some crazy versions out there,” said Massimo Bottura, a bolognese “virtuoso” who runs a restaurant in Modena. The worst he had ever eaten was in Bangkok. “It was terrible,” he told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Abominations such as turkey mince, American meatballs, butter and cream have no part in a true spaghetti bolognese and need to be stamped out, say the guardians of Italy’s culinary heritage.

“Abroad, when they offer spaghetti bolognese, it’s often something that has nothing at all to do with the original,” said Alfredo Tomaselli, the owner of Dal Bolognese, in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, who counts among his past customers George Clooney.

It is not only spaghetti bolognese that is subject to abuse in the kitchens of the world.

Other Italian dishes that have gained worldwide popularity, such as spaghetti carbonara, Neapolitan pizza, pesto and the creamy dessert tiramisu, have also been compromised, often with results that are close to inedible.

“It is always the great classic recipes that get most twisted around,” said Alessandro Circiello, of the Italian Federation of Chefs.

RECIPE: The perfect spaghetti bolognese (as adapted by Patrick Smyth)

Serves four people

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

6 rashers of streaky ‘pancetta’ bacon, chopped

2 large onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 carrots, chopped

Stick of celery

1kg/2¼lb lean minced beef

2 large glasses of red wine

2x400g cans chopped tomatoes

2 fresh or dried bay leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

800g-1kg/1¾-2¼lb dried tagliatelle

freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and fry the bacon until golden over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, frying until softened. Increase the heat and add the minced beef. Fry it until it has browned. Pour in the wine and boil until it has reduced in volume by about a third. Reduce the temperature and stir in the tomatoes and celery.

2. Cover with a lid and simmer over a gentle heat for 1-1½ hours until it’s rich and thickened, stirring occasionally.

3. Cook the tagliatelle in plenty of boiling salted water. Drain and divide between plates. Sprinkle a little Parmesan over the pasta before adding a good ladleful of the sauce. Finish with a further scattering of cheese and a twist of black pepper.

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