Dish from Nice is soup or stew

As celebrated a dish in the bistros of Nice as bouillabaisse is in Marseilles or cioppino is in San Francisco, bourride is somewhere between soup and stew. This homey dish starts with lean fish poached in fumet, a wine-based stock.

Whisking mayonnaise infused with garlic (aioli) into the fumet turns it creamy and pungent - perfect for ladling over the warm fish.

' Cole Publishing Group

Bourride With Aioli

Serves 6

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 leek (white and pale green part), cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch rounds

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

3 pounds meaty fish bones

1 cup dry white wine

zest of 1/2 orange, removed with a vegetable peeler

3 large sprigs thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon fennel seed


2 1/2 pounds fish fillets (preferably a mixture of sea bass, cod, snapper, halibut), cut in 1 1/2-inch cubes

aioli (see recipe below)

3 tablespoons minced chives, for garnish

In a large stockpot over moderate heat, heat olive oil. Add onion, leek, celery and carrot. Reduce heat to low and cook gently until vegetables are soft (about 15 minutes). Add fish bones, wine, 2 cups water, orange zest, thyme, bay leaves, pepper and fennel seed.

Raise heat to moderate and bring mixture to a boil, skimming any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 35 minutes. Strain stock into a clean pot. Season to taste with salt.

Return stock to a simmer over moderate heat. Add fish. If using only one type of fish, add all at once; if using a variety, add firmest fish first, more delicate fish about 2 minutes later. Cook just until fish begins to flake (3 to 4 minutes total). Remove fish with a slotted spoon to a warm platter. Moisten with 1/4 cup fish stock, cover, and keep warm in a low oven.

Put 1 cup of the aioli in a medium bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup hot stock. Whisk this mixture back into stock pot. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until visibly thickened (about 3 minutes). Do not allow mixture to boil or it will curdle.

To serve, put a few cubes of fish in each of six warm soup bowls. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish servings with minced chives. Pass the remaining aioli separately.

For aioli: Stir 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic into 2 cups prepared mayonnaise. Taste and add lemon juice, if desired, for thinner consistency.

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