USE IT ALL
As I sit in Sydney airport, after the red eye special, waiting for a connecting flight to Port Macquarie, my mind is wandering in regard to this week’s article, which has an earlier deadline than usual due to Easter. I have previously published an article on the topic in mind, but not with nearly the devotion it so ‘richly’ deserved.
Last week I mentioned a housewarming party we held where the highlight was a mouth watering seafood bouillabaisse, made by Gary Berson and served by his wife Jude and daughter Claudia. You may think the biggest problem is actually spelling the word correctly, but the hard work is in the preparation. You understand just how much I hate it when it all starts with a fishing or diving trip? “Sorry Viv, can’t do the lawns today because I just HAVE to go diving and fishing to provide seafood to go in the bouillabaisse!” Fortunately I had a dream run on the last three or four fishing trips, so when Gary asked me to keep dhufish and crayfish heads and frames to make the stock, he did not know what he was in for when I arrived with a garbage bag full or jumbo cray heads and Dhuie heads, one from a 20kilo plus fish. The fish had been treated with the respect it deserved, iki jimi spiked when caught, bled, gilled and gutted on board, and then immediately in an ice slurry. When it comes out of the ice box to be filleted, there is hardly an iota of blood and no stomach contents in the slurry. There is something special about using every part of these iconic species and perhaps now bag limits have been reduced, we are recognising just how significant a dhufish is.
Now make sure the exhaust fan is on full, because when you start cooking up the fish soup in a large pot, with enough garlic to repel a coven of vampires, the aroma will literally knock your socks off. Other ingredients include olive oil, onion, tomatoes, quartered, salt & pepper, fennel leek, celery and carrots. After a few strains to remove any nasties that may clog the windpipe, this can be frozen for later use. Therefore, best to make a big batch and if you intend to keep it for an extended period, cryovac it to really retain the flavour. Other parts of this process involve making a marinade, rouille and then the actual bouillabaisse itself. On this occasion the seafood included dhufish, crayfish, prawns and mussels. Gary had done all the prep work and I set him up to cook on a large gas ring on the verandah, so the flavours would waft across the deck. He had made enough for two batches and the line of people queuing up to be served meant the second batch was definitely needed. Dipping the slices of crusty baguette in to the bouillabaisse, washed down with some Victory Point from Gary and Jude’s winery had the partygoers salivating and demanding more. This is one of those meals where one bowl of soup is like a three course meal and you can just feel the goodness warming your soul. If you are really serious about having a crack at this specialty dish, Gary has kindly provided me with the full recipe outline, courtesy of Lulu Peyraud, so flick me an email and I will gladly pass it on.
To answer last week’s question, you would estimate a 50cm Western Foxfish to be approximately 50 years old. This week’s question is, ‘Where did bouillabaisse originate?’
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