Preparation / Directions:
Cut fish and lobster into pieces 1 1/2-inch thick. Reserve fish fillets. In kettle or large, heavy saucepan, combine oil, onions, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, fennel, saffron, orange rind, shellfish, and fish (without fillets), salt, pepper, and 6 cups of boiling water.
Bring to boil and continue boiling, over brisk flame, for 10 minutes. Add fish fillets and continue boiling for 5 minutes longer. Remove all fish and shellfish to heated serving dish and keep warm.
Arrange slices of bread in bottom of soup tureen. Pour cooking liquid over bread. Sprinkle both dishes with parsley. Serve hot. Serve both dishes together.
For eating: Serve from both dishes into the same soup plate.
Comments: Contrary to "La Marseillaise" (which did not originate in Marseille but in Strasbourg), "la bouillabaisse" is a native of Marseille and the favorite child of the whole Cote d'Azur. It was, and has remained, a fisherman's meal, and can never be as perfect as a family or restaurant dish -- but even so, it is delectable enough to have won the recognition of gourmets everywhere.
Try it sometime at the beach and you will get the full flavor of this marvelous dish. The best I have ever eaten was during a summer vacation I spent with relatives on the Cote d'Azur, at a small cottage near Toulon. One time, during the night, or very early in the morning, at any rate, long before I woke up, the men had left for fishing. Late in the morning, the women got busy making the fire on the beach, slicing the bread, preparing the herbs, etc.
Then the men came back, bringing the fish. The women became more frantically busy, cleaning the fish, cutting some into pieces, putting aside some others, and in no time at all, the bouillabaisse was quickly boiling in the large copper caldron.
When we ate it, it was so delicious that I have never forgotten it, and have never tasted any other I found quite as good. Or perhaps it was the sea, and sun, and all the fragrances of summer in a lovely region? Bouillabaisse is made in France with Mediterranean fish, which is, of course, not to be found in the United States. The recipe lists the equivalent American fish. Even in France there is no set list of fish -- variety of flavors and textures is more important than any definite kind.
If some of the fish listed is not available, replace it by some similar variety.
Commentary Source: THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING by Fernande Gar