Sole Roulade with Bouillabaisse
Main Course, Dinner
3 cups water
1 tbsp. salt
Half of a lemon
One bay leaf
1 ½ pounds fresh petrale sole*
Salt and pepper
¾ cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 leeks, sliced and rinsed of grit
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1 large bulb fresh fennel, cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced (save some fronds for garnish)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 strips of orange zest
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. ground fennel seed
1 bay leaf
Large pinch saffron, soaked in ¼ cup boiling water
1 28-oz. can Tomato Sauce
4 cups fish stock, (or clam juice)
Salt and pepper
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
Grated fresh orange zest
Fresh fennel fronds, small pieces
12 large croutons made from a baguette sliced on the bias and sprinkled with a little paprika
STEP 1:Begin Soup: Heat a 6-quart soup pot over a medium flame. Add the olive oil to the pot, then the onions, leeks, celery and fennel. Add a large pinch of salt. Sauté the vegetables lightly until they are softened but not brown and most of the juices are evaporated. 8-10 minutes.
STEP 2:Add the garlic, orange zest strips, thyme, fennel seed, bay leaf and the saffron with its liquid. Stir around for a minute or until the garlic is aromatic, then add the tomato sauce and the fish stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce flame simmer it for 30-40 minutes. (This step can be done ahead and kept a day or two, or frozen for a few weeks.)
STEP 3:Remove the soup from the flame and allow it to cool for about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf from the soup. Once the soup has cooled, use an immersion or standard blender to blend to a completely smooth and silky texture. Once all the soup is velvety smooth, set the pot of soup aside for a bit. (If soup seems very thick additional water can help thin it out.) Correct soup seasonings with salt and pepper.
STEP 4:Make cooking liquid for fish: While soup simmers, get another soup pot out and fill it with the water, salt, and bay leaf. Squeeze some of the juice out of the lemon and add it to the cooking liquid. Add the lemon, too. Simmer the cooking liquid for about 30 minutes or until nicely flavored. It’s okay if it’s a little salty. Set the pot aside until the fish is prepared.
STEP 5:Begin fish: Gently rinse off all the pieces of fish in a colander under cold water. Place each piece of fish on a cutting board covered with a thick layer of paper towels. Turn the fish over to dry the second side. Using a sharp knife, or your hands, separate the fish into separate fillets. Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut away the connective tissues that held the fillets together. You will yield a small, thin strip that should be discarded. Turn all the fillets so they are presentation side down. The side where the skin was should be up. Sprinkle this side with a little salt and pepper. Now roll each piece of fish: begin with the thick end and carefully roll it so that its straight edge remains even. The sloping top portion of the fish will roll, too, and create a spiral look once the fillet is all rolled up. Repeat with all the pieces of fish. Carefully place them in a shallow dish large enough to hold them all standing up, with their spirals at the top, flat sides on the bottom. Cover them with some plastic wrap and refrigerate them until needed- up to an hour or so.
STEP 6:Finish recipe: Heat the soup over a very low flame, covered with its lid. Next, remove the bay leaf, etc. from the fish cooking liquid. Heat the cooking liquid to a simmer. If the fish is in very different sizes, place the largest pieces into the liquid and cover them. Let them poach for 3 or 4 minutes, then add the smaller pieces. Cook all the pieces slowly and gently until they are cooked through. About 8-10 minutes depending on their size and thickness. If using a thermometer, they’re ready at 145°F.
STEP 7:Just before the fish is finished, ladle about 10 oz of the fully heated soup to each of 4 large serving bowls. Now divide the roulades of sole among the bowls. Place 3 croutons each into each bowl in a decorative manner. Now garnish each bowl and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
*Chef’s Note: Petrale sole can vary in size quite a lot- the fish you buy may be big or small. Quality is definitely more important than the size of the fish. Depending on the size, each portion of fish for this recipe could be 2, 3 or even 4 pieces of fish per person. Purchase similar size pieces of fish if possible for consistent cooking.