Falling in love can surprise you at an unexpected moment. There you are, going about your daily life, and suddenly, "WHO, WAS THAT?" walks by. Boeinggg, Cupid hits the mark. Your eyes could sweep a crowded room and come to an abrupt halt as they focus on someone attractive and they are looking back at you. Your heart beats faster and you can't take your eyes off each other despite the crowd. Maybe, you've met in polite circumstances but the magnetism is so strong it's positively indecent. "WHERE, have YOU been all my life?" It's all like falling off a cliff, over powering dizziness and all that romantic stuff. You're obsessed and walk around in a stupor. Well, I'm embarrassed to say, I found a dish that I'm head over heals in love with. This wasn't some cheap, tawdry affair, like potato chips and French onion dip or your first crush on a birthday cake or your infatuation with sushi. It's the best, real thing, I've cooked up in a while and I'm not quite sure how I did it, to be honest. This was like my only blind date - and I married that one, by the way.
I think, I finally cooked up perfection - love at first bite. I'm blushing like a bride just thinking about it. This dish has all the elements, aroma, taste and appearance, simple but elegant. I wasn't looking for it but it just happened and I thought it was just like falling in love. You can't help yourself. It transported me from my suburban kitchen to a romantic Mediterranean setting just inhaling the complex perfume of the sea and aromatics involved. I'm not sure I'll ever get it right again because the elements and circumstances might vary. Is this a one night stand who disappears and will be just a fond memory or can I reproduce it again? I know the secret is in my fish stock and the remarkably fresh seafood medley I randomly purchased and topping with pisstou that all combined to create memorable flavors. Love is blind, so here goes.
3 lbs fish frame (head, bone, tail), ask your grocery or market for this
1 lb shrimp shells
1 leek, trimmed, white and light green parts only
1 small onion
1 celery rib with leafs
1 garlic clove
5 black pepper corns
Parsley, thyme, bay leaf
3 quarts water
Bring to a boil, the reduce to a simmer and reduced to 2 quarts. Remove the fish frame and strain the stock twice. Once through a fine mesh strainer, then again with the strainer lined with cheese cloth.
In a large Dutch oven heat 2 tbls olive oil, then add and sauce 4-5 mins:
1 cup diced onion
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 carrots diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
Add 2 cups fish stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Add a 2 lbs combination of the following and simmer 8-10 minutes:
or a firm white fish
Add a pinch of saffron
Finish with 2 tbls Period (Anisette liquor; worth the price and effort or 1/2 cup white wine as an alternative).
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a dollop of pisstou and crusty bread.
In a food processor add:
1 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves
1tsp lemon zest
pinch of salt
Add enough olive oil through the feed tube to form a loose paste.
- Recipes & Random Thoughts
- I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.