The other day I was thinking about the tradition of eating fish for the Christmas holiday. The Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes involved members of the family bringing a different fish dish to the table on Christmas Day. Eel, Squid, anchovies, smelt, octopus, salted cod and lobster would often be used. I thought that it would be fun to combine this idea into one dish and serve it as a dinner for two. I looked at several options and settled on a Bouillabaisse and although the Italians have versions of their own, I favor the French flavor! Also I wanted to take the opportunity to use something off the Pete’s Seafood Seasoning Rack which includes Ocean, Lake and Stream.
I decided Ocean would be perfect with its hints of lemon, pepper and fennel. In truth it was the flavors of a Bouillabaisse that inspired the combination of spices in Ocean.
I collected the ingredients and got started.
First, I prepared a nice fish stock. In a large sauce pan, I heated olive oil. In that I sautéed the onions and celery for around 3 minutes. I added the garlic and cooked it for another minute or so. I added the bay leaf, peppercorns, fish bones, water, Ocean and dry white wine. I brought the liquid to a boil and reduced it to a simmer. It cooked for another 30 minutes. I removed it from the heat and strained it.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 pound fish bones (I used red snapper and shrimp shells)
Water to cover
1 cup medium dry Riesling
2 tablespoons of Ocean-Pete’s Seafood Seasoning Rack
After the stock is finished I got started on the Bouillabaisse. I placed the stock back on the heat and brought it to a simmer. I added the saffron, leeks, tomatoes, fennel, garlic, and parsley.
Pinch of Saffron
1 cup leeks, julienned
1 can diced tomatoes drained. Liquid reserved.
1/2 cup fennel, julienned
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound of red fish
½ pound of Tilapia
1 large lobster
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 little neck clams
Salt and pepper
I then added the fish, squid and lobster. Cooked it roughly 10 minutes added the shrimp, mussels, and clams. I cooked that for another 7 minutes. Note: Make sure all shells are open. Get rid of any that didn’t open. Lastly, I hit it with a little salt and pepper to taste.
Traditionally, the Bouillabaisse is accompanied by crusty bread and a Rouille, a kind of creamy dipping sauce that is to be served with chunks of bread. In this recipe I make an extreme variation on a Rouille using extra virgin olive oil and Pete’s Cajun Fish Bait, pepper sauce. And yes they are perfect together.
Wisk together till emulsified:
¼ cup extra version olive oil
2 tablespoons Pete’s Cajun Fish Bait
And that’s the finished product. It’s a perfect little dish. And it’s pretty easy. Try a variation of your own. Just about any Ocean fish will work.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas.
Filed under: Hook, Line & Skillet, Recipes, The Skillet Tagged: | Bouillabaisse, Christmas fish dish, Feast of Seven Fishes, hook, Line & Skillet, Ocean, Ocean spice, pete flores, Pete's Seafood Seasoning Rack