Mock Turtle Soup

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Actually, it’s mock bouillabaise, but you get the picture…

See my post “A Fish Story” for details on this traditional soupe de poisson from Marseille that relies on a medley of local Mediterranean fish. This one is not authentic, but it is impossible to reproduce the original outside of Provence. What we have here is based on a version from Patricia Wells’ At Home in Provence:

In a casserole (see my post “A Case for the Casserole”), saute a few cloves of crushed garlic, a chopped shallot, and a chopped fennel bulb or a teaspoon of fennel seeds in olive oil. Add a few cups of crisp white wine or a few tablespoons of pastis and a few cups of water, 3 or 4 large peeled tomatoes, and a few tablespoons of tomato paste, and bring to a boil. After about 30 minutes, or when vegetables are soft, lay 4 cleaned and seasoned monkfish fillets on top, drizzle with olive oil, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the fish, and puree the vegetables, preferably with an immersion blender. Taste and season. Boil several small potatoes until tender, and slice. To serve, place some potatoes and monkfish in each bowl and ladle the soup over them. Top with toasted slices of a baguette and rouille or aioli (see my post “Mayonnaise”), and garnish with grated orange zest (zest ahead of time and squeeze the juice into the broth before cooking) and fennel fronds.

Truc (Tip): You can substitute other white fish for the monkfish—or use a combination!

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