Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Pacific Northwest Bouillabaisse

For two days now, it has been rainy, oh! sheets of rain coming down. If you have an umbrella, it doesn’t help. You are soaked before you can even get your umbrella up, and the wind keeps blowing in gusts from different directions so the umbrella goes inside out.

The perfect day for Pacific Northwest Bouillabaisse, a recipe from a cookbook my aunt gave me, published in 1946 – no longer even in print. But the recipe is a winner – easy, satisfying, and with a salad and French Bread, a complete stormy day meal, warming and satisfying from the inside out.

A bouillabaisse is flexible, and relies on slow simmering and some reduction to obtain its deep, rich, complex flavor. Fishermen use what they catch – the more, the merrier, in a bouillabaisse. For extra credit, serve with a rouille, a red, peppery mayonnaise. (Yes, blenders make any mayonnaise do-able.)

Pacific Northwest Bouillabaisse
From Mary Cullen’s Northwest Cook Book, 1946 (with alterations)

This is one of the all-star recipes if you like seafood and if your friends do, too.

1 1/2 lbs. cod, halibut or red snapper, or good solid white meat fish like grouper, cut into bite sized chunks
1 large hard shell crab, cook, take meat out (or two or three small Kuwaiti crab)
2 lbs. small clams in the shell, or if you are stuck, you can use canned clams
1/2 lb. mussels, if available
10 – 12 medium large shrimp
1/3 cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cups fish stock (I use the water from cooking the crab, and cook the fish heads etc. until you have a good, tasty stock)
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 green and 1 red sweet pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon saffron
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons minced parsley

Prepare fish, removing bones and cutting into bite sized pieces. Several kinds of fish can be used, if preferred. Clean meat out of crab legs and crab body, put aside.

In large pan, sautee onion, peppers and garlic in olive oil, add bay leaf and cut up fish and fish stock, cook very slowly, without boiling, for about 20 minutes or until fish is tender.

Add crab, clams, shrimp, mussels, seasonings, and lemon juice. Let cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. It is tradition that on cold winter’s days, the bread can be dunked in the broth!

This is a photo from Wikipedia, showing genuine French Bouillabaisse. The Pacific Northwest version doesn’t have a tomato-y broth, but more clear broth.


January 3, 2007 - Posted by | Cooking, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Generational, Recipes, Weather

1 Comment »

  1. […] in the fish souks. We don’t eat a lot of shark, but we often buy it to fill in a good bouillabaisse (if you are superstitious and believe there must be seven different fish in your bouillabaisse) or […]

    Pingback by Sharks and Underwear « Here There and Everywhere | September 2, 2008 | Reply

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