Vegetable Bourride

by Ray McVinnie | Cuisine issue #151
Serves: 6English writer Elizabeth David is a constant source of inspiration, providing an enduring way to look at food. She was one of the first food writers to introduce household European cookery to the English-speaking world and I still pick up her books and find myself enchanted by her descriptions, which are a mixture of food and travel writing.

She explains the cultural background of any dish she describes, giving the reader a better understanding of how it should taste and be eaten. The first cookbook I ever bought was one of hers. One of the many recipes she introduced me to was bourride – a fish stew in which fish is poached in stock that is lightly thickened at the end by whisking in aioli. Here, I have made a mainly vegetarian version – the anchovies are optional.

For the croutons
1⁄3 French stick, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the bread pieces in a roasting dish just big enough to hold them spread out in a single layer. Add the garlic and oil then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well.

Bake for 10 minutes or until well browned and crisp. Remove from the oven, cool and reserve.

Aioli
5 egg yolks
5 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
100ml extra virgin olive oil

Put the yolks in a bowl with the garlic and mix well. While whisking continuously, start adding the oil, drop by drop, until the mixture becomes creamy and thickens (it must not look curdled). Continue to whisk while adding the remaining oil in a thin stream. Reserve.

Vegetable bourride
4 Agria potatoes, peeled and diced 3cm
1 fennel bulb, coarse outer leaves and stalks removed, bulb halved, cored and thinly sliced
1 litre well-flavoured vegetable stock (I use Rapunzel powdered organic vegetable stock)
3cm-long piece orange peel, cut off the orange with a potato peeler so there is no pith
large sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds, coarsely ground
150g green beans, halved
4 artichoke hearts (from a jar or can), quartered
1 cup peas
1 cup peeled broad beans
12 cherry tomatoes
1 roasted red capsicum, peeled, deseeded, sliced 1cm thick
12 anchovy fillets
1⁄2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
small handful parsley sprigs

Put the potatoes, fennel, stock, peel, thyme and coriander seeds in a large wide saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Add the green beans, artichoke hearts, peas, broad beans and tomatoes to the saucepan. Bring back to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove all the vegetables to a warmed platter.

Bring the stock mixture back to the boil then remove from the heat. Slowly add a ladle of the hot stock to the aioli, whisking continuously so it becomes runny.

Pour the aioli mixture back into the hot stock in the saucepan and mix well. Return to the stovetop on low heat and stir until it just thickens and forms a creamy sauce (do not let it boil as it will curdle). Remove from the heat and pour over the vegetables.

Sprinkle the croutons, capsicum, anchovies, olives and parsley on top then serve immediately.

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