Bourride

by Ray McVinnie | Cuisine issue #97
Serves: 6Bourride is the other great fish dish of Provence, but unlike bouillabaisse does not rely on using a particular type of fish.

The core of this exquisite dish is yet another great Provencal dish, aioli, or homemade garlic mayonnaise. As with bouillabaisse, there is much debate over the 'true' way of making bourride, but in essence it comprises firm white fish fillets poached with leeks and potatoes in a well-flavoured fish stock. When the fish is cooked, everything is then thickened by whisking in the garlic mayonnaise. The resulting pale yellow, garlic-perfumed sauce is at once frothy and creamy and poured over the fish, leeks and potatoes and slices of toast to serve.

Aioli (pronounced ay-oh-lee)
This aioli has three extra egg yolks added at the end because it is the 'liaison' that is going to thicken the sauce.

5 egg yolks
4 cloves garlic
300mls extra virgin olive oil
salt

Put 2 of the egg yolks and the garlic into a mortar or food processor and pound or blend until smooth. Add the oil drop by drop, stirring or blending continuously until the mixture starts to become thick and creamy with no sign of curdling. Then continue adding the oil in a thin stream, stirring continuously until all the oil is used and the mixture is thick and creamy. Stir in the remaining egg yolks until completely incorporated, taste and season well with salt, then set aside.

For the bourride
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
800g skinned and boned firm white fish fillets (John Dory, hapuku or groper, bluenose, snapper, blue cod, gurnard and monkfish are suitable), cut into 8cm pieces
500mls well-flavoured fish stock
5 medium-sized waxy potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks and parboiled until almost tender but not cooked, then drained well
6 slices French bread, toasted

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan, add the leeks, fennel and garlic and fry gently without browning until the leeks and fennel are soft.

Spread the fish out evenly in the pan, add the fish stock and potatoes, bring to the boil and simmer until the fish is just cooked and the potatoes are completely cooked.

Arrange the toast on a warmed serving platter. Use a slotted spoon to lift the fish, potatoes, leeks and fennel out of the pan, taking care to drain them well, and place on the toast.

To serve, put the a•oli into a large bowl. Bring the stock in the pan to the boil, then slowly add it to the aioli, whisking continuously until it is completely amalgamated. Pour the sauce over the fish and vegetables and serve immediately.

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