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National Bouillabaisse Day

CookingMyWay's picture

Foodie fans it's National Bouillabaisse Day... Bouillabaisse is a fish stew from France - and I like it!

Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille. The French and English form bouillabaisse comes from the Provençal Occitan word bolhabaissa [ˌbujaˈbajsɔ], a compound that consists of the two verbs bolhir (to boil) and abaissar (to reduce).

Bouillabaisse is usually a fish stock containing different kinds of cooked fish and shellfish. These are complemented with a variety of herbs and spices such as garlic, orange peel, basil, bay leaf, fennel and saffron. Classically, there are usually a dozen or so kinds of sea food such as scorpion fish, monkfish, weever, mullet, mussels and conger eel; other kinds of fish may also be used. Vegetables such as leeks, onions, tomatoes and celery are boiled together to produce a rich flavour. The exact proportions vary by cook and region. For example, in Marseille intense arguments rage between different restaurants, all of whom claim to make "authentic Bouillabaisse."

The stew and the fish are usually served in separate bowls, with the stew poured over slices of French bread seasoned with a spicy sauce of bread crumbs, olive oil, and chilis called rouille, although sometimes an aioli is served. Bouillabaisse is often only served when there are large groups of people, as it is time-consuming to prepare and some of its ingredients may be expensive; it is also generally available from restaurants along the coasts of Provence.

The origins of the dish date back to the time of the Ancient Greeks, when they founded Marseille in 600 BC. Then, the population ate a simple fish stew known in Greek as 'kakavia.' Bouillabaisse also appears in Roman mythology: it is the soup that Venus fed to Vulcan, to lull him to sleep, so that she could cavort with the god Mars.

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National Bouillabaisse Day