Bourride Rapheloise with Halibut, Salmon, and Cod

Photo and recipe by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  25 minutes Cook Time:  25 minutes

Bourride Rapheloise with Halibut, Salmon, and Cod

Bourride rapheloise is a luscious fish stew that originated in Provence. It is made with aioli—an emulsion of egg yolks, lemon juice and garlic—blended right in. (The bourride is a lot like the Provencal vegetable stew called soupe au pistou). Bourride is an elegant and light, yet satisfying dish for any season.

Ingredients

Stew:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large sweet onion, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch strips

2 large leeks, white part only, washed well (see Kitchen Tips), and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch wide strips

2 large fennel bulbs, cored (see Kitchen Tips), feathery fronds removed and reserved; bulb and “fingers” trimmed and cut into ¼-inch strips and rounds

2 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch thick by 1-inch long batons

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch thick by 1-inch long batons

2 cups dry white wine

4 cups fish stock or Roasted Vegetable Stock or best-quality store-bought, low-sodium fish or vegetable stock

4  dried bay leaves

6 to 8 saffron threads

1 pound halibut fillet, cut into 2-inch chunks

2 pounds salmon fillet, cut into 2-inch chunks, any pin bones and skin removed (see Kitchen Tips)

1½ pounds cod fillet, cut into 2-inch chunks

2 bunches Swiss chard, leaves only (see Kitchen Tips), cut into ¼-inch strips (about 4 cups)

 

Aioli:

4 large egg yolks, room temperature

8 garlic cloves, peeled, halved, and grated, any green centers discarded

⅓ cup olive oil

Juice and zest of 2 large lemons

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions, leek, fennel, celery, and carrots, stir, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions and leeks are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the wine, stir, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the wine is reduced in volume by half. Add the stock and stir well. Reduce the heat to low, and gently place the fish on the surface of the stock. Cover and poach gently for 5 minutes. Do not let the soup liquid come to a boil; it will not be cooked through. With a spatula, gently transfer the fish to a baking sheet and set aside. Reserve the soup in the pot over low heat.
  3. Combine the egg yolks and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process for about 1 minute, until smooth. While the processor is running, add the lemon juice and zest through the machine’s feed tube, and then pour in the olive oil, salt, and pepper in the same way. With the machine still running, drizzle in 1 cup of the warm soup liquid a few tablespoons at a time; work very, very slowly— no scrambled eggs, please—until the mixture is thick, creamy and pale yellow in color.
  4. Transfer the egg mixture to the remaining soup in the pot and stir quickly until foamy and fully combined. Add the chard and stir well. Cover and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the leaves are all soft and dark. Gently return the fish to the soup, carefully spoon the liquid and the chard over the pieces. Simmer for 4o to 6 minutes, until the fish cooked to desired doneness. Ladle into bowls, garnish with reserved fennel fronds, and serve hot.

Kitchen Tips

  1. If you haven’t cooked with leeks before, you need to know a few things: they’re delicious, but they absorb an amazing amount of soil as they grow, so you’ll need to wash them extremely well. First, trim off the tough outer leaves. Then, place the leek on a work surface, hold it by the root end and, with a sharp knife, slice lengthwise, starting about an inch from the root and working your way down the leaves (keeping the root end intact for the moment). Roll the leek over about half a turn, and slice again, so that the once tightly wound leaves hang in big strands from the root end. Wash well under running water, making sure to get in between each strand. When you are satisfied that all the dirt is removed, you can cut off the root end, trim any remaining tough green leaves and soak, slice or chop as the recipe requires. If you wish, you can cut the leeks first and wash them in a bowl of water. Just remember that leeks absorb huge amounts of dirt and sand so keep washing until they are perfectly clean; the dirt should fall to the bottom of the bowl while the leeks float to the surface. Lift the leeks out of the bowl and set aside (Don’t drain by pouring the water out of the bowl over them or you will be pouring the dirt back onto them.)
  2. To prepare fennel, place it on its side on a work surface; you will see the core at its base.  Cut out the core by making two angled cuts on either side of it with a sharp knife, to form a triangle  shape. Remove and discard the core. Peel off any discolored, shriveled or hard outer layers and discard them. Cut off the feathery  fronds; you can discard them or reserve them for garnish or for use in a dressing or other seasoning. You will be left with the fennel bulb and its “fingers.” Slice or chop as the recipe indicates. Note that some cooks discard the “fingers” as well; for a chopped salad  or a soup, they are fine.
  3. To remove needle-like pin bones from a fillet of fish such as trout, salmon or arctic char, place the fillet on a work surface. Run your finger along the the top (not the underbelly or the tail) and you will feel the tiny bones, no bigger than a pin. With fish tweezers or tongs, grasp one pin bone firmly and pull toward the head end of the fish; don’t pull toward the tail because the bones don’t face that way and they will snap in half. Gently but firmly pull out the bones one by one. If one does happen to snap, feel for the piece you left behind with your fingers and pull it out.
  4. An easy way to remove the spines from green leafy vegetables is told fold the leaf in half down the spine (as if you were closing a book). Place the folded leaf on a work surface and, with a sharp knife, slice as close to the spine as you can and discard. Prepare the leaves as directed in the recipe.

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