In Search of the Perfect Bouillabaisse
Marseille is a Mediterranean melting pot of people, styles, and, of course—since the city is home to some of the best bouillabaisse on the planet—fish. While some insist that the only true bouillabaisse is the one served to friends in fishermen's cabanons along the rocky coast of Marseille, many others acknowledge Marseille is the true mecca of this fish stew, one that relies on the particular mix of Mediterranean fish found off the Riviera coasts.
According to the bouillabaisse charter—designed to spare unsuspecting diners from poor imitations—this stew should contain at least four of the following once-unappreciated species: scorpionfish, tub gurnard, John Dory, monkfish, weever, and conger. Its robust flavor comes from a combination of tomato, onion, garlic, fennel, orange zest, and saffron, along with plenty of olive oil and sea salt (fishermen originally used seawater). The brick-red broth is served first, followed by the fish fillets, all of it with plenty of rouille (mayonnaise spiced up with garlic, chili, and saffron).